Cowboys fans are still uneasy about getting back into a relationship with Kicker Brett Maher. But the veteran has done his part since returning to Dallas and deserves the continue this second opportunity, but that doesn't mean the team still can't explore other options.
Maher is well-remembered for his first run with the Cowboys from 2018-2019. Signed to be a camp leg for veteran Dan Bailey in 2018, Brett shockingly pushed Bailey off the team and stole the job. While this had a lot to do with Dan's injuries and related performance issues, Maher's big leg was an intriguing weapon that Dallas hoped to utilize.
The experiment worked as Maher hit multiple game winners and set a new franchise record with a 62-yarder against the Eagles. But unfortunately, Brett's accuracy plummeted from over 81% that year to just 67% in 2019. Dallas cut him that December and brought in Kai Forbath to finish the season.
Maher spent 2020 on a few teams' practice squads but never saw action in a game. He finally got back on the field for the Saints in 2021 and made 16-of-18 field goals, a dramatic improvement in accuracy to almost 89%.
That wasn't enough to keep Brett in New Orleans or get him a job earlier in the offseason, but it did entice the Cowboys to bring him back a few weeks ago. With neither Lirim Hajrullahu nor Jonathan Garibay doing enough to earn the team's trust, Dallas instead turned back to a former fling and now appear to be giving him the job for 2022.
Maher has reportedly been near-perfect in practices and brought that into the preseason games. His only misses have been from 60-yards out or more, one not having enough distance and the other going slightly left. Otherwise, Brett's been sure-footed from closer range and not caused anxiety on his extra points the way Greg Zuerlein was the last two years.
Still, does this mean Dallas should just stop looking at kickers?
Given Maher's limited track record of stability, plus the fact that he turns 33 in November, it would behoove the Cowboys to keep auditioning young prospects through the practice squad. With plenty currently on the market and more still to come with final cuts, surely John Fassel has his eye on at least one guy from another roster.
Even bringing Jonathan Garibay back wouldn't be the worst idea. Give Fassel a chance to keep working with the undrafted rookie on mechanics and mental approach.
Whoever it is, preparing someone for the future could reap benefits even sooner than next year. If Maher implodes as he did in 2019, having someone ready to step in may be critical to the Cowboys' lofty goals this season.
We certainly hope this reunion with Brett Maher goes well for everyone's sake. But given his recent history and our general luck at kicker the last several years, the Cowboys need to make sure they've got an egg in another basket.