Ask a hundred football fans what the Dallas Cowboys' strongest position is and at least 75 to 80 of them would say the offensive line. It might even be more than that, and none of the would be wrong.
However, if someone said "kicker" or even "specialists," you couldn't really argue with them.
We've started to take for granted the remarkable luxury that the Cowboys now enjoy with kicker Dan Bailey, punter Chris Jones, and long snapper L.P. Ladouceur. Positions that have all given the franchise grief in the past, these are now manned by players who are either at or near the top of the league.
I could just tell you he's the most accurate kicker in NFL history. That's about all that needs to be said, right?
Bailey's career field-goal percentage of 90.5% over the last five seasons is the best ever. The next closest are are the Ravens' Justin Tucker at 87.8% and the Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski at 87.3%.
What's more, Bailey's contract just became a bargain. A few weeks ago, Baltimore re-signed Tucker to a four-year, $16.8 million contract. Tucker's new average annual salary of $4.2 million exceeds the $3.2 million that Dallas will have paid to Bailey over the course of his deal, which expires in 2020.
In fact, five other NFL teams are paying their kickers more than Dallas is paying Bailey.
Best of all, Bailey is still just 28-years-old and has at least a few more years before you start worrying about his prime. You do always have the thought of how quickly a great kicker can fall apart, which Dallas experienced during our one bad year with Mike Vanderjagt.
For now, though, Dan Bailey is the best in the biz and in the history of the biz. We'll take that.
Last April, Dallas re-signed Jones to a two-year extension. You can understand why when you look at his 2015 performance.
Jones is the thinking man's punter. He isn't about the booming punts but more strategic ball placement and field position. He does an exceptional job of taking the other team's return game out of the equation.
Dallas was in the top five last year in net return yardage, which is the length of the punt minus the amount of the return. Only 24 of Jones' 61 punts were actually returned. Dallas was also in the top five in forcing fair catches.
Jones has shown a great talent for placing the ball right on the sidelines. He maximizes distance while also taking the return man out of the play. He may not have the biggest leg in the NFL but he get some of the best results.
The second-oldest player on the team at 35 years (Tony Romo is 36), the long snapper is the least talked about guy on the roster. Even the fifth or sixth wide receiver or the seventh linebackers gets more ink than Ladouceur.
And that's just fine, because he's a guy who loves to go unnoticed.
You will only hear about your team's long snapper when they make a mistake. That's why Ladouceur has been on the field since 2005, longer than anyone other than Jason Witten, and yet you hardly know his name.
It's a thankless job, other than the money. Ladouceur has the third-highest cap hit of any long snapper at $1.17 million. Given that he is involved on every play for both Dan Bailey and Chris Jones, that is a small price to pay for perfection.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
REPORT: Cowboys Negotiating Trade with Dolphins for DE Robert Quinn
According to a report just minutes ago, the Dallas Cowboys are visiting with Miami Dolphins' Defensive End Robert Quinn today as part of a possible trade. Miami is looking for a trade partner to try to get something back for Quinn before making him a salary cap casualty.
Quinn is in the final year of his contract and is set to count $12.9 million against the Dolphins' salary cap. Most of that is his base salary of $11.8 million, which Miami is reportedly willing to pay part of to help facilitate a trade.
Robert Quinn was spotted today on his way to visit the #Cowboys, who are in trade talks with the #Dolphins for the veteran DE, sources say. Quinn would need to agree to any deal. So, this is another step in the process, with a Dallas team that obviously needs pass rush.
The Cowboys need DE help with DeMarcus Lawrence's contract still unresolved and Randy Gregory now indefinitely suspended for another drug policy violation. They signed Kerry Hyder from the Lions yesterday, but he isn't a proven commodity like Quinn.
Turning 29 in May, Robert Quinn is a two-time Pro Bowler and former first-round pick of the Rams. He hasn't had the same production in recent years but still had 6.5 sacks for Miami in 2018 and 8.5 the prior year with Los Angeles.
Ever the bargain shoppers these days, Dallas is probably hoping to get Quinn for late-round draft pick or perhaps a pick swap.
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