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Meet Brett Maher, the Cowboys Kicker Replacing Dan Bailey for 2018

Sean Martin



Meet Brett Maher, the Cowboys Kicker Replacing Dan Bailey for 2018

When Dez Bryant was released by the Dallas Cowboys, a calculated move that was processed on a Friday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to have my former radio show "Upon Further Review" to share my immediate thoughts. I don't remember much of what I said, speaking from the heart about a player that meant so much to the organization, but I know for certain I prefaced everything by saying that Bryant's release was something that still needed processing.

Nick Eatman on Twitter

It's been a few hours and I'm still shocked by what happened with Dan Bailey. All we can do is speculate but it just never seemed like it was a true competition. Not sure what Bailey did to lose his job. #cowboyswire

In a stunning change of faith at the kicker position, the Cowboys release of Dan Bailey yesterday drew the same reaction from many - Cowboys fans or not. When Cowboys games came down to field goals, with just as many people rooting for America's Team to lose in spectacular fashion as well as triumph, it was so often Bailey's foot that delivered for Dallas.

By aggressively churning their roster, the Cowboys list of players they've let down with missed opportunities in the playoffs has grown, and it's unfortunate that the second most accurate kicker in NFL history must now be added to this list. Officially, Dan Bailey made ten go-ahead field goals in either the fourth quarter of a Cowboys win or in overtime.

His replacement, Brett Maher, has never kicked a field goal in a regular season game in the NFL, despite being on three teams. One of these teams was the Cowboys, as Maher was a member of the squad for the preseason in 2013.

At the time, he was the proverbial "warm body" to kick field goals while Bailey healed from an injury. Ask even the most loyal Nebraska Cornhusker fans (there are plenty of those), and they would have told you Maher was doing much of the same with the Cowboys this time around.

Bailey never will get his chance to fully recover and take back his job with the Cowboys though, as Maher became the team's biggest winner at cut down time on Saturday. For a club that constantly talks about competition and accountability, their move to replace Bailey lacks both, as no public kicking competition was known about in Dallas.

Billy Cundiff and Zane Gonzalez are two NFL kickers that Maher was unable to beat out in stops away from the Cowboys to earn a starting job. Cundiff is now retired, and Gonzalez is still the starter for the Cleveland Browns.

Maher's starts have all been in the CFL, appearing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ottawa Redblacks, and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Maher scored all 18 points for the expansion Redblacks in their first ever win back in 2014, hitting from 23 yards out to win the game.

RedBlacks Brett Maher Winning Field Goal

June 18, 2014.

It took Dan Bailey until the end of 2016 (his sixth year kicking for the Cowboys) to miss as many field goals as Maher did in just two seasons at Nebraska, where he played before entering the NFL and CFL. Maher's 19 of 23 performance on field goals in 2011 earned him conference kicker of the year as a Junior.

He also punted for Nebraska for two seasons.

Maher was 4-5 on field goals this preseason for the Cowboys. His make from 57 yards out in Houston was the last low-pressure kick he'll hit in some time for the team. What seemed like a nice moment for the UDFA to gain some confidence resulted in Maher replacing a former undrafted success story in Bailey.

Welcome to the franchise that gets the most attention on a weekly basis, Mr. Maher. You're the starting kicker for the Dallas Cowboys now.

As mentioned, there's not a single part of this story that seems probable, or even believable at this point still. Reconciling the widespread feelings of disdain towards a Cowboys team that owed Bailey much better - by realizing that Maher is going through the same disbelief - certainly helps.

In one week's time, the Cowboys will be opening their season with a tough NFC match up at the Carolina Panthers. For the first time in years, the team's defense is less of a concern than the offense for this game. A key piece to their scoring ability ever since 2011, Dan Bailey's absence only adds to the uncertainty on this side of the ball, as Brett Maher will be the next man up kicking for the Cowboys.

Tell us what you think about "Meet Brett Maher, the Cowboys Kicker Replacing Dan Bailey for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.



  1. Travis Diggs

    September 2, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Is anybody really surprised here?, Bailey is the next to go out of the old Cowboys players their getting outta here( Romo, Witten, Dez, etc). They all have the same thing in common, down years and/or injuries make you replaceable to cheaper younger candidates. Maher’s 57 yarder was the icing on the cake, Dan bailey’s career long is 56. I hate how cowboys fans are surprised when these aging veterans are let go. Dez couldn’t get separation no more and y’all were surprised?? Bailey was missing extra points and all type of field goals last year and were surprised he got cut. I guess we’re gonna be surprised when Sean Lee and Tyrone Crawford gets cut next year like we didn’t know it was coming

  2. Sexcdex Xfact

    September 2, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    My thing with cold calculated trades, cuts, etc by JJ since he bought the Dallas Cowboys Franchise is he’s not considerate enough of those who preceded him, helped him win 3 SB’s
    (the 3rd was with Jimmy J’s team)
    & all that followed is Jerry is one beck of ‘s oil-tycoon persona Owner /GM /etc
    And to all who havent quite gotten it yet
    Get ready for more

    • Glenn Korbel

      September 4, 2018 at 12:56 am

      A few chapters of “The Legend of Jimmy Johnson” that never made the book:

      Johnson drafted Steve Walsh in the 1989 supplemental draft because he was not completely sold on Aikman and the former had been his Q.B. at Miami when the Hurricane won a national championship. It was announced during the ’89 camp that it was an open competition.

      The price for drafting Walsh was forfeiting his 1st overall pick in the 1990 draft which would have been Junior Seau. However, the Cowboys were assigned the 17th pick which Johnson was hellbent on using on a trade with the Bengals who were at 12. Johnson was obsessed with linebacker James Francis but Cincinnati wouldn’t budge. Had they, Emmitt Smith would have become a packer.

      Then there was Jimmy’s utterly heartless and assinine move of running Hall of Fame receiver Jimmy Smith out of Dallas because he thought Smith was a melingerer. (He actually had appendecitis.)

      But Johnson’s greatest near-miss bonehead moved was prevented by Al Davis. Johnson, in 1989, wanted to trade Michael Irvin to the Raiders. Davis said, “I’d love to make the trade Jimmy but who will your quarterback throw the ball to? Apparently, Davis would not risk his friendship with Jones by entertaining
      Jimmy’s idiotic compulsion to deal.

      So, for those keeping score, had it not been for Al Davis and Paul Brown, the Bengal’s G.M. in 1990, the Cowboys would have traded Irvin and never had Emmitt. How many rings would “Jimmy’s team” have without them?

      • Sexcdex Xfact

        September 4, 2018 at 1:20 am

        I fact check
        Never knew this
        But still doesn’t change my knowledge nor opinion of JJ
        Being cold & calculating isn’t a stab or put down of Jerry

        Business much of the time has to be severed from emotion

        Belichek, Saban, Tom Landry, NBA, MLB, major Corps , the Entertainment Industry’s, etc all have to make hard, sometimes spur of the moment decisions that few understand, accept, or agree with

        So even without knowing the accuracy of your post, I will say maybe you took what I said incorrectly & rereading mine, I definitely could have elaborated more clearly

        But by no means did I indicate JJ was alone in bring the way he is
        That why I made the reference to his Oil Tycoon mentality / business savvy

        Parents seem cold & calculating
        A pastor can seem insensitive.
        Doctors & Attys & bankers etc
        We’re both speaking the same language Glenn

  3. Glenn Korbel

    September 4, 2018 at 12:39 am

    Am I correct in believing Dan Bailey never made a field goal in the regular season before his first regular-season game as an undrafted free agent.

    Now, many people may think everyone from Jerry Jones on down to the guy who turns out the lights at the stadium are incompetent morons. Moves like this, however, are not made unless SOMEBODY made a damn strong case or knew something fans don’t. Bailey wasn’t released because this guy made a 57-yard field goal.

    • Sexcdex Xfact

      September 4, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      Again Glenn
      I totally agree with you & again my use if the FO brass being,
      ” cold & calculated “, is much more of praise than insult
      Like the greatest coaches, agree it’s better to cut a good or even great player 2 yrs too soon than 1 yr too late
      JG said there were several culmative reasons that led to Dan Bailey’s release

      Thank God they talked it through with Bailey prior to the final cut

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back.

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!

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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring. ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures.

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.

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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.

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