Dallas Cowboys: Solutions at kicker for the Injured Dan Bailey

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Kicker Dan Bailey
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Kicker Dan Bailey /

The Dallas Cowboys face the difficult task of replacing Dan Bailey. Here are some free agent solutions at kicker…

It wasn’t all good news for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Sure they handily beat the San Francisco 49ers 40-10, moved to 3-3, and kept hopes alive in the wide open NFC playoff race. But they also potentially lost their All-Pro kicker, Dan Bailey, to a groin injury.

Said Jason Garrett on Monday:

"“We’ll see how Dan feels today, but we’re prepared to bring at least a couple guys in to have them kick for us and just certainly be ready if Dan’s not available.”"

Groin injuries are tricky things and some were offering early speculation that Bailey could miss up to a month. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen. What is clear is the Dallas Cowboys are taking this situation seriously and have no intention of going into a contest with Jeff Heath as the only viable option.

Dan Bailey Needs a Roster Spot

Often times, teams will stash their kickers on IR if it appears they will miss more than a couple games. The thinking is, roster spots are valuable things and one cannot be wasted on a kicker. Dan Bailey, though, is the exception to that rule.

Bailey is good enough to justify a roster spot even if he does miss the next month. If that means it’s time for Bene Benwikere’s time with Dallas comes to an end, so be it. The simple truth is the Cowboys need to find a replacement kicker AND keep Bailey on the roster.

Available Options

There are a number of available options on the free agent market today. None are particularly attractive, but hey, that’s why they’re free agents.

Mike Nugent

The former second round pick out of Ohio State has been an exceptional kicker in the NFL for years. Unfortunately, those years weren’t all that recent. Two out of the last three seasons he’s had a success rate less than 80 percent. Additionally, he found a way to miss six PAT’s last season for the Bengals.

Even still, he’s a proven kicker who won’t cave under the pressure. At 35-years old, his best days are behind him. But all the Cowboys need is a stopgap to keep Dan Bailey’s seat warm and Nugent may be the safest stopgap available.

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Andrew Franks

Andrew Franks , 24, only has two seasons of NFL experience. The former Miami Dolphin didn’t progress in year two when he only made 16 of 21 FG attempts. He has potential to grow and a strong enough leg to boast a 55-yard career long as well as 87 touchbacks in 32 games.

Cairo Santos

Perhaps the most intriguing of the free agent options if former Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Cairo Santos.  Santos, 25, has been a developing player for KC the past three seasons. But it wasn’t his development that was ultimately his demise, but rather a groin injury.

After being placed on IR on September 26th, he was outright cut on September 30th.  It’s unclear how his health is one month later but if he proves to be healthy, he could be a steal on the free agent scrap heap. Santos has a career 84.8 FG percentage and a 54 yard career long.

Next: Time for the Cowboys to make a trade

Whatever route the Dallas Cowboys decide to go, if they have to replace Dan Bailey for any period of time, it’s going to hurt. It’s all hands on deck these days as Dallas tries to claw back into the NFC East race.