Hi, Kai. Bye, Kai.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Dallas Cowboys on Friday signed former Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein to a three-year, $7.5 million contract — or $2.5 million annually. His agreement includes $2.25 million guaranteed.
A 2012 sixth-round pick, Zuerlein was once-upon-a-time the premier kicker in the NFL, earning the nickname “Big Leg Greg” due to his penchant for drilling long field-goals.
Across 119 career games, Zuerlein owns an 82-percent success rate, having made 201 of 245 FG attempts, with a long of 61 yards. He’s 33-of-55 (60 percent) from 50-plus yards, 46-of-60 (76.6) from 40-49 yards, 70-of-77 (90.9) from 30-39 yards, and 48-of-49 (97.9) from 20-29 yards. He’s had just five FGs blocked.
Zuerlein is also nearly flawless in extra-point attempts, knocking through 264-of-270 tries (97.8 percent) as a pro.
Last season — for which he earned $2.325 million in the final year of his three-year, $6.75 million extension — Zuerlein went 24-of-33 on FGs, with a long of 58, and 42-of-42 on XPs.
Despite a decorated resume which features 2017 Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors, the Rams chose not to re-sign Zuerlein, sending him to unrestricted free agency where he drew little known interest.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Fit with Cowboys
It’s an ideal one since ex-Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel now holds the same title in Dallas, hired by new head coach Mike McCarthy earlier this offseason. Fassel’s presence — and likely his recommendation — was a catalyst for Zuerlein’s acquisition.
“He’s got endless energy. Before every game he’s running in the stands or on the field,” Zuerlein said of Fassel during the former’s 2012 rookie campaign, per the NY Daily News. “Before practice, after practice, in games, he’s always moving. He’s definitely the fittest guy I know. It’s infectious.”
And considering he received a multi-year pact, rather than a one-year prove-it deal, he should be considered the favorite to open 2020 as the primary kicker, consequently relegating incumbent Kai Forbath to the unemployment line.
Just eight days ago, Forbath signed a new contract to return to the Cowboys, after going 10-for-10 on FGs (long of 50) in three games for the club last season. He was considered a possible long-term solution following the disastrous Brett Maher era. But, as always, things change quickly in this business.
Zuerlein’s addition also spells doom for K Tristan Vizcaino, who signed a reserve/futures contract with Dallas in January.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL