FRISCO, Texas – It looks like there will be a kicking competition in Mike McCarthy's first year as the Cowboys' head coach.
It's only been a week since the Cowboys re-signed Kai Forbath, who hit all 10 of his kicks in three games last season.
But on Friday, the team agreed to terms with Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein on a deal that's reportedly worth roughly $7.5 million over three seasons. Zuerlein had been sitting on the free agent market since his contract with the Los Angeles Rams expired last week.
This isn't a coincidence. Zuerlein is joining the Cowboys just months after his longtime special teams coordinator with the Rams, John Fassel, signed on to the position in Dallas.
Fassell has been Zuerlein's position coach for the entirety of his NFL career. The Rams selected him in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft during Fassel's first year on the job.
In that time span, Zuerlein was a constant for the Rams, connecting on 201-of-245 career kicks, a healthy mark of 82%. He's also connected on 98% of his career extra points.
For his efforts, Zuerlein earned his way to the Pro Bowl off the strength of his superb 2017 season, when he hit 38-of-40 field goals with a long of 58 yards and did not miss a single extra point.
His performance dipped a bit in 2019, which perhaps is part of the reason he wasn't re-signed in L.A. Zuerlein hit just 73% of his kicks last season, though he did still manage to connect on 5-of-7 field goals from 50 or more yards away.
Money isn't always the deciding factor in job status, but Zuerlein's contract certainly seems to make him the favorite to land the Cowboys' kicker job. The three-year deal comes with a reported $3.5 million in guarantees, whereas Forbath's one-year deal is worth just $1.1 million with very little in the way of guarantees.
Regardless, 2020 looks likely to provide the most interesting training camp for Cowboys kickers in quite some time.