As the Dallas Cowboys report to training camp, they do so with new roster limits related to COVID-19. In an attempt to limit the number of players at training camp, the NFL has reduced the number allowed on the roster to 80 players, 10 fewer than in previous seasons. The first casualty of training camp came down today as the Dallas Cowboys released Kicker Kai Forbath.
The Dallas Cowboys brought Kai Forbath in during the 2019 season after Brett Maher struggled with consistency in the intermediate part of the field. Forbath on the other hand was a perfect 10 for 10 in his time with the Cowboys.
During free agency, the Cowboys signed former Los Angeles Rams Kicker Greg Zuerlein to a three-year contract. Zuerlein, who kicked under new Special Teams Coordinator John Fassell, figured to have the leg up in the kicking competition but most believed that there would at least be a competition in training camp.
Zuerlein was coming off a 2019 season where he had the lowest field goal percentage since 2015. Injuries certainly played a role in Zuerlein's struggles, however, he struggled in the same area of the field that Brett Maher did; the 40-49 yard distance.
If healthy, Zuerlein is one of the best kickers in the NFL and there's certainly a comfort level with “Greg the Leg.” However, it is surprising that Kai Forbath didn't get an opportunity to compete for the kicking job.
Kai Forbath signed a one-year deal with to stay with the Cowboys this offseason. With the release, the Dallas Cowboys will save $750,000 on the salary cap with $137,500 in dead money to the 2020 cap.
In the COVID-19 reality of the NFL, the 80-man roster limit makes every roster spot much more important to start training camp. Fewer spots doesn't allow teams the luxury of carrying extra special teams players. Unfortunately for Kai Forbath, he's the first high-profile player to face the ax of training camp.