The Dallas Cowboys have been trying to solve their kicking issues since the release of Dan Bailey in 2018. Brett Maher had the job up until last December but was released after continuous accuracy issues. Kai Forbath looked to be the new man in town at the position as he hit all 10 of his field-goal attempts last season and re-signed to a one-year deal in March.
About a week after locking up Forbath, the Cowboys added another veteran at the kicker position when they signed Greg Zuerlein to a three-year, $7.5 million dollar deal. This set up what looked like to be a stiff competition between the two until a somewhat surprising move happened on Saturday. The Cowboys released Forbath leaving Zuerlein as the only kicker on the roster and the starter for the 2020 season.
Zuerlein has been a pretty solid kicker since entering the NFL in 2012. In his eight seasons with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, he connected on 201 out of 245 field-goal attempts (82%). The best stretch of his career came from 2016 to 2018 when he hit 84 out of 93 field-goal attempts. The highlight of this run was Zuerlein’s 2017 campaign in which he nailed 38 of his 40 attempts (95%) and received Pro Bowl and First-team All-Pro honors.
Unfortunately, 2019 was a struggle for Zuerlein. He only connected on 24 of his 33 attempts, and his 72.7% clip was the second-lowest of his career. His main area of trouble was on attempts between 40-49 yards as he was only successful on five of 11 opportunities (45%). Despite the recent struggles, there’s a reason for optimism when it comes to Zuerlein and that’s the hiring of Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel, who coached him during his entire time with the Rams organization. That familiarity, plus a fresh start with a new team, can hopefully get Zuerlein back to being “Greg the Leg” as he was once called.
Zuerlein has the green light for the 2020 season and the foreseeable future when it comes to kicking duties for the Cowboys.