When Dallas Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said on Tuesday morning that he was ready to go make a decision on the kickers they tried out right after the press conference was over, he wasn’t joking.
Minutes after the presser was over, reports emerged on the Cowboys striking a deal with free agent Brett Maher. The 32-year-old kicker reunites with the team that released him in 2019 due to accuracy concerns.
Cowboys are signing kicker Brett Maher following today’s workout, two people familiar with decision said. Rookie Jonathan Garibay is being waived. Lirim Hajrullahu on field now. He’ll be team’s only kicker in practice today.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 9, 2022
New kicker competition: Hajrullahu vs. Maher.
After kicking for 81% in 2018, Maher’s production went down significantly in his second season with the Cowboys. He finished that year with a poor 67% rate including a disastrous 5-for-13 mark in attempts over 40 yards, per Pro Football Reference.
Maher spent the late portion of the 2021 season with the New Orleans Saints, where he was good for 89% in an 18-attempt sample size.
It’s fair to say that a shake-up was needed as Jonathan Garibay’s struggles didn’t get better throughout the summer. Garibay was barely maintaining his tally over 50% and wasn’t able to settle down while Hajrullahu did. The Texas Tech product has talent, however, and he’ll be a guy the Cowboys could keep an eye on moving forward.
For now, you could argue that Hajrullahu remains the favorite for the starting role. He’s getting more consistent, going 7-for-7 on Monday and 8-for-11 on Saturday. You can read more about Hajrullahu’s story from last year’s article here.
And in case you’re wondering, Maher is getting Amari Cooper’s number. The kicker will wear #19.
Cowboys No. 19— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 9, 2022
Amari Cooper ➡️ Brett Maher pic.twitter.com/JI75aFk5B9
Featured image via Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports