Adam Schefter broke a story shortly before noon on Tuesday, May 23rd.
Why was Brandon McManus released?
Adam phrased his tweet perfectly. Surprise is the correct word for this news. It appears on the surface to be a salary cap move.
Brandon McManus was set to enter the fourth year of a 4yr/$17.2 million contract. Denver awarded him $6.5 million guaranteed at signing, and $9.5 million total guaranteed for the length of the contract.
Determining if the salary cap savings are worth losing the production that McManus has provided for the Broncos is something General Manager George Paton and new Head Coach Sean Payton must have debated heavily.
Denver will incur a dead cap charge of $2.4625 million, but will save a shade over $2.5 million on the 2023 salary cap. That should be more than enough to sign a kicker off of the street.
Age could also be a factor in McManus's release. He will be 32 years old at the start of the season. Kickers usually have a long life in the NFL, but kicking outdoors in often cold conditions is not kind to an aging body.
What has he accomplished?
McManus's career began in 2014. He only attempted 13 field goals, converting nine of them. The four misses were from 53, 53, 41, and 33 yards out.
Along with being a perfect 41/41 on extra points, Denver felt that was enough to retain him as their kicker for the 2015 season. He rewarded them for the next eight years.
From 2014 to 2022, McManus is 223/274 (81.3%) on field goals and 277/286 (96.8%) on extra point attempts.
In that same span, McManus ranks 5th in the NFL for points scored amongst kickers.
As the graphic shows, McManus is in good company since coming into the league in 2014. Being up there with Tucker, Zuerlein, Crosby, and Prater is nothing to scoff at.
How does he fit with Dallas?
The Dallas Cowboys kicking situation in 2022 seemed promising. Brett Maher won the job in training camp over undrafted free agent Jonathan Garibay, and didn't look back.
Maher made 29/32 (90.6%) field goals and 50/53 (94.3%) extra points in the regular season. His only field goal misses were from 59, 59, and 46 yards out.
The problems started in Week 18 at Washington. After a Dak Prescott touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb right before halftime, Maher missed the ensuing extra point.
He did not attempt another kick the rest of the game, and carried that over into the Wildcard round at Tampa Bay.
Dallas scored four touchdowns before Tom Brady and the Buccaneers even got on the board. Maher missed all four of those extra points.
I was sitting at the bar in my local bar and grill with fellow Cowboys fans, and we were all in disbelief. I yelled out “what are you doing???” after the third missed kick, and was speechless after the fourth miss.
I'd never seen anything like it, and everyone at the bar actually stood up and applauded when his fifth attempt barely made it through the uprights.
The thought that Maher's confidence was back heading into San Francisco in the Divisional round was quickly squashed when he missed the extra point attempt after a Dalton Schultz touchdown catch.
Currently, the Cowboys only kicker on the roster is journeyman Tristan Vizcaino, and Special Teams Coach John Fassel didn't exactly give him a vote of confidence.
When asked what the Cowboys plans are at kicker, Fassel was quoted saying they are considering “anybody else on Earth”.
The Cowboys are about as confident in their current kicking situation as a native Texan is confident for snow to fall this summer.
So how does McManus fit in? He is a veteran kicker with a better than average track record. He not only makes the easy kicks, but is adept at hitting kicks under pressure, and still has range from over 60 yards away.
He is getting up there in age, but an indoor kicking situation could nullify the wear from being 32 years old.
If the Cowboys' front office can bring him in with a bargain contract, Cowboys Nation won't have to hold their breath at every extra point and field goal attempt in 2023.