(Editor's Note: With training camp finally beginning, there are countless names that will shape the way this Cowboys season plays out. On a team with this much star power, some of those names are better known than others. This series seeks to identify some of the unheralded members of the Cowboys' roster, highlighting how they might make the team and have an impact on the 2020 season.)
- Who Is He? K Kai Forbath
- How Did He Get Here? That's a long answer, depending on how detailed you want to get.
Technically, Forbath spent his rookie season with the Cowboys in 2011 as one of several kickers signed to compete for the job. Unfortunately for Forbath, he spent the year on the Non-Football Injury list and Dan Bailey grabbed control of the job. He would eventually be released and go on to spend time with six other clubs – including a successful three-year stint with Washington.
Fast forward to the present. After three misses in two losses to Buffalo and Chicago, the Cowboys parted ways with Brett Maher – who connected on just 67% of his field goals for the season.
The Cowboys worked out three kickers after that decision and ultimately signed Forbath – who easily rewarded their faith. In the final three games of 2019, he was a perfect 10-of-10 at both extra points and field goals. He wound up scoring all of the Cowboys' points in the 17-9 loss to Philadelphia that sealed their playoff fate.
The performance was enough for the Cowboys to re-sign him in March, setting him up to compete against fellow veteran Greg Zuerlein.
- Career Highlight: Forbath enjoyed plenty of highlights during his three seasons with Washington.
During the 2012 season, he set the NFL record for most consecutive field goals to start a career by hitting 17-straight. He also hit several walkoff field goals during his time with Washington – including an overtime game-winner against the Cowboys on a Monday night in 2014.
- How Does He Make It: It's easy to follow the money and assume that Greg Zuerlein will be the Cowboys' kicker going forward. It's a logical conclusion to reach. Zuerlein has been to the Pro Bowl, has worked his entire career with special teams coordinator John Fassel and he also signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract with Dallas.
Kicker is a unique position in football, though. It is almost entirely determined by on-field performance and isn't hindered by some of the usual politics and red tape. For evidence, look no further than 2018, when Maher shockingly beat out Bailey for the job after a strong training camp.
If Forbath is clearly the better kicker during the course of camp, he might not give the coaching staff another choice. Of course, this will be a unique camp, as Forbath won't have the opportunity to make his case during preseason games. But he should still have plenty of opportunities to show his stuff in practice.How He Can Help: If he plays the way he did in the final month of 2019, Forbath will be able to help someone – even if it's not the Cowboys. He hit at least three field goals in all three of his games with the Cowboys. Two of those came from inside the red zone, while the other eight came from outside. He hit from some long distances, as well, connecting from distances of 50, 49, 48 and 47 during that time span.
That type of consistency speaks for itself. If he can keep it up in 2020, he'll be a valuable asset – whether it's for the Cowboys or someone else.