Prior to the 2022 NFL Draft I begged and pleaded with the Cowboys to draft Cameron Dicker in the sixth round. The kicker/punter from the University of Texas was still on the board and I remain convinced he’s the second coming of Justin Tucker. Plus, he was the Longhorns’ punter, meaning he could free up a roster spot.
Instead, Dallas used their final pick of the draft on Devin Harper, a linebacker out of Oklahoma State. Who, you ask? Exactly.
Meanwhile, Dicker went undrafted, played one game for the Eagles before landing with the Los Angeles Chargers. He went 21-22 on field goals for the year and nailed all 24 off his extra points. On his 55 kickoffs, 46 of them went for touchbacks, that’s 83.6% if you were wondering.
Dallas went with Brett Maher instead in 2022. They were rewarded with 29-of-32 on field goals and 50-for-53 on extra points. On kickoffs, 78 of his 100 kicks went for touchbacks (78%).
Then came the postseason. Four straight missed extra points in one game, a fifth blocked in the next game and that one was shanked left too. Was I the only person who watched Peyton Manning’s reaction to the misses at Tampa Bay and immediately flashed back to 2003 and Manning’s “Idiot Kicker” remark about Colts’ placekicker Mike Vanderjagt?
Frankly, I was surprised to see Maher make the flight to San Francisco after the Tampa Bay debacle. Had Jimmy Johnson been coaching the team that night, Maher might have had to fly back to Dallas on a commercial flight.
To no one’s surprise, the Cowboys announced they are moving on from Maher in 2023. Had they listened to me — and yes, I was tweeting, e-mailing and doing everything I could short of flying a banner over The Star – they wouldn’t be looking for a kicker this year.
The good news is that their punter, Bryan Anger, is signed for this year and next. So they only need to find someone who can put the ball between the uprights on a regular basis.
When it comes to returning kicks and punts, the Cowboys seem to be in good shape. KaVontae Turpin has some room for improvement going forward. He has the ability to turn any kick into six points in a hurry as he showed in preseason – although he failed to find the endzone in the 2022 regular season.
Dallas didn’t allow a touchdown on special teams either, so it seems the kickoff and punt units overall are well positioned for 2023. Which just leaves to one and only one problem for special teams coach John Fassel to resolve.
The Cowboys have already taken the first step by parting ways with Maher. After his performance in Tampa there was no way Dallas could trust him. I’m not sure if he’ll land on another NFL team after his last two games.
The problem is the Dickers and Tuckers of the NFL don’t grow on trees. I don’t see a kicker coming out of college worth using a draft pick on this year. But the free agent crop is interesting.
Mike McCarthy might be interested in bringing in Mason Crosby, given their relationship in Green Bay. Matt Gay would also be an option if the Cowboys are going to address this need in free agency. He hit 93.3% of his field goals and 97% of his extra points for the Rams last year. That’s the kind of stability Dallas needs at the kicker spot.
But I would go and undo the Cowboys’ mistake of last year if the choice were up to me. Dicker is an exclusive rights free agent. If the Chargers don’t extend Dicker a contract tender then Dallas needs to sign him.
Trust me, if Dicker becomes available I will be on the next flight to Dallas. I will bang on the doors at The Star until they listen to me this time. Just putting that out there in case I make the news for all the wrong reasons later this year.