FRISCO, Texas – Nearly 48 hours after the move, it was still the hottest topic of discussion.
To no surprise, Jason Garrett's press conference on Monday lasted one second before he was asked to explain the decision to release Dan Bailey on Saturday.
"Well, it certainly wasn't an easy decision for us," Garrett said. "Dan has been an elite kicker for us. Obviously a lot of factors go into this decision. There's a business side to making a lot of decisions to make. You have to decide where you can save some money and salary cap space."
Bailey was scheduled to make a base salary of $3.2 million, pushing his would-be cap charge to $4 million. By cutting him, the Cowboys will only have $800,000 in dead money this year. And by keeping Brett Maher, the team will have only about $1.2 million allocated to the position with Maher's $480,000 salary.
However, Garrett said it wasn't just a financial decision.
"I think the biggest thing you look at is he's had some injuries over the last two years," Garrett said. "When we put the whole thing together, this was the decision we felt like we had to make. We went back and forth on it, we discussed it a great deal, but we feel like Brett Maher has kicked very well and that gave us confidence to make this decision."
Bailey had a back injury two years ago but was really set back by a groin injury that caused him to miss five games. Obviously he wasn't the same when he returned, missing three field goals and the first two extra points of his career.
This offseason, he seemed to be back on track, aside from two days in training camp that saw him miss four practice kicks. However, he made just about every other practice attempt the rest of the way and his only field goal attempt of the preseason.
Bailey's 186 field goals are the most in Cowboys history and he currently ranks third in scoring all-time for the franchise with 834 points. He also ranks second in NFL history with an 88.1 percentage on field goal attempts, only behind Baltimore's Justin Tucker (90.1).
"I can't say enough about Dan Bailey as a person, as a kicker, what he's done for this organization and the pressure kicks he's made for this organization," Garrett said. "He's a great player for us and will continue to be a great player in this league."