After the Cowboys released Chris Naggar on May 13, it left undrafted free agent Jonathan Garibay as the only kicker on their roster. With no competition, it seemed inevitable that Garibay would be Dallas’ week one kicker.
However, it appears there will be competition for Garibay after all. On Friday, the Cowboys re-signed Lirim Hajrullahu, a former CFL kicker who played for Dallas sporadically in 2021.
He originally signed with the Cowboys in August 2021, helping them secure kicking reinforcements after an injury to Greg Zuerlein and Hunter Niswander's release. Hajrullahu was cut six days after being signed before joining Dallas’ practice squad twice during the season. He was let go both times.
Quite honestly, it’s hard to say right now. Given that Hajrullahu's signing makes him the second kicker on Dallas’ roster, it can be assumed Garibay is still the favorite to win the starting job.
However, nothing is assured, primarily since we haven’t heard any coach say anything about Hajrullahu yet. All we’ve heard from head coach Mike McCarthy is him saying he’s being “patient” with Garibay, which could mean he’s working on gaining his trust.
This was an expected move, though. Having just one guy at a position heading into training camp would’ve been unusual, and it’s always nice to have competition anywhere.
This is especially true, given Garibay is an undrafted rookie. He could use a push to solidify his spot as the Cowboys’ starting kicker, which is probably why Hajrullahu is being brought in.
If I had to make a prediction, I’d say Garibay is Dallas’ kicker to start the season. However, having him earn the spot over someone else instead of just handing it to him by default is a great move on the Cowboys’ part.