Why is kicker Brett Maher being totally written off for 2023? I understand he struggled in the playoffs, but he was "Money Maher" before then. Why not invite him to training camp and have a competition? If he struggles in the preseason, then go in another direction. But why not even give him a chance to even compete? – Darryl Fackrell/Highlands Ranch, CO
Patrik: You've now seen Brett Maher three times in a Cowboys uniform and though he's saved their hind parts on more than one occasion, for kickers, it's all about the most recent bout of success or failure (keep in mind he also struggled in his second stint as well). After all, it was that scouting angle that preceded the unexpected release of Dan Bailey – the most prolific kicker in franchise history before the "yips" arrived – and it feels like Maher hit the same wall this past season (and at the worst possible time to hit it). I believe the Cowboys are done with Maher, appreciative, but done, nonetheless. They're going to hit reset at the position, and that means new faces being brought in to compete in training camp, likely by way of both free agency (veteran) and the draft (or the ranks of the undrafted). And if that all fails as it did last July, guess who they could circle back and call, as they did last summer, leading to your current question? Exactly.
Kurt: The life of a kicker is such an emotional roller coaster. Maher was truly "Money" during the regular season, tying for third in the NFL with 137 points while splitting the uprights on a team-record nine field goals from 50 yards. That included a 50 yarder as time expired to give the Cowboys a 20-17 win in Week 2 over the Bengals. Pressure? Please. And then, poof, a record four missed extra points in the playoff game against the Buccaneers, followed in the next round by one that surely would have gone wide as well if not blocked by the 49ers. A case of the "yips" at the worst possible time, which caused owner Jerry Jones to state after the season, "We are back to the drawing board." That has led everyone to think the team is moving on from Maher, and maybe rightfully so. But finding a reliable kicker is no easy task. Just look at last year after Maher was brought in late and won the job over a rookie and veteran journeyman. Heck, the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs used three kickers in 2022 due to injury and none of them converted better than 75 percent of their field goals. Meanwhile, Maher made 91 percent of his field goal tries, tied for eighth in the NFL, with two of his three misses coming from beyond 50 yards. So I wouldn't be surprised if the Cowboys bring him to training camp to compete for a job. There may be better out there … but there is also a lot worse.