Cowboys insider lists surprise contingency options if Brandon Aubrey experiment fails

Birmingham Stallions v New Orleans Breakers
Birmingham Stallions v New Orleans Breakers / Justin Ford/USFL/GettyImages

Though Jerry Jones hinted that the Dallas Cowboys would look to the USFL to fill their kicking vacancy, just about everyone expected the team to sign an established veteran in the league considering who was available.

When push came to shove, the Cowboys settled on Brandon Aubrey of the USFL's Birmingham Stallions.

Aubrey was arguably the top kicker in the USFL last season, but the signing raised eyebrows amongst fans given he's an unknown quantity and vets like Robbie Gould and Mason Crosby, among others, were there for the taking.

In a vacuum, there's a lot to like about Aubrey. The former Notre Dame soccer star converted field goals at a 93.3% clip (14-of-15) and made all 35 extra points. Having an accurate kicker who's dependable on point-afters would move mountains in Dallas following Brett Maher's historically bad playoffs.

What if the Aubrey experiment goes awry, though? What then?

Michael Gelkhen of the Dallas Morning News listed some potential contingencies, including Zane Gonzalez, the winner of the Chargers' camp battle between Dustin Hopkins and Cameron Dicker, and winner of the Bucs competition involving Rodrigo Blankenship and Chase McLaughlin.

The Cowboys are keeping their kicking options open after Brandon Aubrey signing.

Gehlken didn't leave Tristan Vizcaino out to dry, but the general consensus is that Aubrey is the "in-house favorite" to win the Week 1 job. Still, it's smart that the Cowboys have crafted a rough draft of sorts as far as potential fallback options in the event Aubrey is overwhelmed by the bright lights of the NFL.

Gonzalez has been inconsistent throughout his career. Over the last three years, he boasts field goal percentages of 90.9, 72.7 (!), and 88.6%, though it's worth noting he owns a 96.7% on extra points during the same span.

The Cowboys saw plenty of Hopkins in Washington from 2015-21. Now 32 years old, Hopkins has made at least 90% of his extra points in all eight seasons, including a 12-for-12 showing with the Chargers last year. In 2021 and 2022, Hopkins has made field goals at a 90.0% clip and 88.2% clip, respectively.

Blankenship doesn't move the needle much given his lack of range, nor does McLaughlin and his career 78.8% career field goal percentage.

Dicker's potential is tough to gauge given 2022 was his first season. He kicked for the Eagles and Chargers, making 21-of-22 field goals and all 14 extra points.

Gehlken listed some intriguing options, but it goes without saying the Cowboys would be better off if Aubrey ran away with the job at camp.

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