Cowboys Sign Potential Starter, Cut Camp Disappointment

Mike McCarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy looks on during an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys are attempting to rectify their kicking situation after a disappointing start to training camp. According to DallasCowboys.com’s Rob Phillips, the team is signing Brett Maher and releasing Jonathan Garibay.

“The Cowboys are waiving rookie kicker Jonathan Garibay and are expected to sign free agent Brett Maher following his scheduled workout,” Phillips tweeted on August 9, 2022.

Maher is expected to compete with Lirim Hajrullahu to be the team’s starting kicker. The news comes after the Cowboys hosted four free-agent kickers, including Maher, for an August 9 workout. Dallas also took a look at Cole Murphy, J.J. Molson and Matt Ammendola, but for the time being appear to only be signing Maher.

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Maher Previously Played for the Saints & Cowboys

Maher spent his first two NFL seasons with the Cowboys (2018 through 2019) and most recently, played four games for the Saints in 2021. The newest Cowboys kicker hit 74.2% of his kicks during his previous two years in Dallas. During his rookie season, Maher hit six of seven field goal attempts from 50 yards or more. Despite having a shaky start to training camp, Hajrullahu appears to be responding well to the added completion.

“Cowboys kicker Lirim Hajrullahu made 12-of-13 field goals in his longest single period of live work of training camp. His final make from 45 featured a fortuitous bounce. Brett Maher already kicked this morning,” The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken tweeted on August 9.


McClay: ‘The Kicker’s Job Is to Kick the Ball Through the Goal Posts’

Over the offseason, the Cowboys released former Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein but no one has been able to take a firm grasp of the opening. Cowboys vice president Will McClay sent a clear message about the team’s frustration with the kicking woes in camp.

“The kicker’s job is to kick the ball through the goal posts, whatever the situation is,” McClay told The Dallas Morning News on August 8. “So we’re looking for guys that can do that more consistently.”


Garibay Is a Former Texas Tech Kicker Who Is Looking to Make His NFL Debut


Shaky start for rookie kicker Jonathan Garribay. Cowboys kickers struggle.Shaky start for rookie kicker Jonathan Garribay. Dallas Cowboys kickers Jonathan Garibay and Lirim Hajrullahu struggled with field goals at camp yesterday. Rookie Jonathan Garibay went 6-8. Lirim Hajrullahu was 3-8. Wind and bad snaps were an issue too.2022-08-03T13:38:38Z

Prior to the roster moves, The Athletic’s Jon Machota detailed Garibay and Hajrullahu’s struggles during the early practices. The former Texas Tech kicker more consistently struggled which ended up costing him a chance to make the Cowboys roster.

“Lirim Hajrullahu has moved ahead over the last few days. Rookie Jonathan Garibay continued to struggle Saturday, making only four of his 11 attempts,” Machota wrote on August 8. “Throughout training camp, the undrafted former Texas Tech kicker is hovering around 50 percent on his attempts, obviously not good enough for actual games. Hajrullahu made 8-of-11 kicks Saturday. The free-agent kickers who are available at the moment probably aren’t significantly better than what the Cowboys currently have, but if things don’t improve during the preseason, Dallas will have to try other options. Jerry Jones says he’s ‘not really’ worried.”

The Cowboys’ kicking woes date back to last season when Zuerlein missed a career-high six extra point attempts. Zuerlein hit a respectable 82.9% of his field goals in 2021 and signed with the Jets after being released. The former Cowboys veteran is on pace to be the Jets starter when Week 1 kicks off.

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