Cowboys Surprisingly Release Ex-Browns Player Despite Lack of Depth

Jerry Jones

Getty Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The Dallas Cowboys have a plan in place, but not every fan is sure what that is after the team made its first release of rookie minicamp.

The team waived fullback Sewo Olonilua earlier in May, letting the former TCU Horned Frog hit free agency before rookie minicamps began across the league. But for kicker Chris Naggar, his departure comes after the first day of camp.

The Cowboys announced they were releasing the former Cleveland Browns kicker on May 13, while also explaining that Dallas only has two kickers working right now.

“The Cowboys released kicker Chris Naggar on Friday, which means undrafted rookie Jonathan Garibay is currently the only kicker on the roster,” the website states. “Simon Mathiesen is participating in this week’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.”

Basically, the position is looking slim. As mentioned above, Dallas has a plan in place, but as of right now, the team is rolling into the summer with one kicker technically on the roster.

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What to Know About Garibay

So while Naggar is finding a new home after unsuccessful stints with the Cowboys and Browns, Garibay is starting his NFL career this offseason after five years at Texas Tech. Some Cowboys fans will be familiar with the kicker, as the California-born player put together an impressive season for the Red Raiders.

After a relatively mediocre 2020 season that involved a positional battle that limited his reps, Garibay was a difference maker in 2021. For starters, his first two kicks of the 2021 season were game-winning tries against West Virginia and Iowa State.

The kick against ISU was from 62 yards out, the longest kick made in the final minute of a game in NCAA history. It was the second-longest made field goal in Big 12 conference history.

Garibay built off his strong start, putting together a near-perfect season. The former Red Raider made 49 of 50 extra point attempts and 15 of 16 field goal attempts according to Sports Reference.

Essentially, Garibay was consistent, clutch, and boasts a big leg. Those are all the must-have qualities of a kicker, and Naggar’s release likely means the Cowboys have faith in the rookie’s ability. However, it could also mean that the team is interested in adding another kicker to the roster.

Free Agency Options for Cowboys

In terms of veteran free agency options, the pickings are slim. Spotrac has six kickers listed as free agents with prior NFL experience, and one of them is Naggar, so really there’s five “veteran” options for Dallas.

The names that stand out the most are Matthew Wright, Sam Ficken and Michael Badgley. Badgley boasts the best overall resume as the only kicker to play in every game of an NFL season, with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020.

Ficken has a worse career FG percentage with 72.9% to Badgley’s 80.5%, but Wright has the best career percentage at 89.5%, but has played two less seasons than Ficken or Badgley.

Wright is coming off an impressive season with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he stepped in as the starter for 14 games after Josh Lambo’s early-season release. The Central Florida alum did miss two extra points, but made 21 of his 24 attempts including a 53-yard game-winner against the Miami Dolphins in London.

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