The Dallas Cowboys bypassed myriad opportunities this offseason to address their kicker conundrum.
While Brett Maher collapsed in historic fashion once the playoffs arrived, the Cowboys had to be diligent in their search for a replacement. Playoff shortcomings aside, Maher was one of the best kickers during the regular season and was a legitimate Pro Bowl snub.
When the dust settled, the Cowboys landed on USFL's Brandon Aubrey to succeed Maher. The signing surprised just about everyone given established vets like Robbie Gould and Mason Crosby are available.
Gould has never missed a kick -- extra point or field goal -- in his playoff career, while Crosby has kicked in countless big games in his career.
Alas, Dallas is rolling the dice on the unproven Aubrey, who will compete against Tristan Vizcaino during training camp. While fans are uneasy about how Aubrey will perform, it sounds like the Cowboys long had him in their crosshairs.
Is Brandon Aubrey primed to become the Cowboys starting kicker?
Per Mike Fisher of Sports Illustrated, Cowboys special teams coordinator John Fassel attended several USFL games to scout Aubrey (and other candidates) in person.
As the USFL's kicking points leader this past season, Aubrey left a strong impression on the Cowboys' coach. He made 14-of-15 field goals -- including every kick inside 49 yards -- and all 35 extra points for the Birmingham Stallions.
There's no telling if that accuracy will translate to the NFL stage, but that consistency (if it conveys) will serve as a refreshing change of pace relative to what the Cowboys have trotted out at the position in recent years.
It also shouldn't be understated that Birmingham special teams coordinator is Chris Boniol, who kicked for the famed mid-90s Cowboys, including the 1995 Super Bowl champs.
In three seasons with the Cowboys, Boniol made over 87% of his field goals -- including leading the NFL with a 96.4 conversion rate in 1995 -- and 97.5% (118-of-121) of is extra points.
It's understood that Boniol was instrumental in Aubrey's development and breakout season after he made the switch from soccer to football.
Aubrey was a four-year starter for Notre Dame's esteemed soccer program. He bagged 15 goals in 76 appearances for the Fighting Irish and was selected No. 21 overall in the 2017 MLS Draft by Toronto FC. He didn't play for the club and later left soccer to pursue a career in football.
It's anyone's guess if Aubrey will pan out with Dallas, but the sheer recruitment put in and the fact Boniol was his USFL mentor suggests Jerry Jones and company long had their collective eye on Aubrey to replace Maher.