Dallas Cowboys: Jay Feely

Why Dan Bailey's signing makes sense

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
IRVING, Texas -- The reaction when news broke of kicker Dan Bailey's seven-year, $22.5 million deal contract with the Dallas Cowboys was somewhat mixed, which had me surprised.

The Cowboys have won 24 games the last three seasons and Bailey has won a third of them with game-winning field goals. To me, the Cowboys were smart to lock Bailey up to a long-term deal because they play close games and there is a premium on having an accurate kicker.

By the middle of next season, if Bailey holds form, he would be the NFL’s most accurate kicker ever with a minimum of 100 made attempts.

But some of you got caught up in the Cowboys "paying" a kicker, when they have so many other needs. My response would be to re-read the second and third paragraphs and now take a look at the breakdown of his deal.

Bailey received a $4 million signing bonus and $7.5 million is guaranteed on the deal. In what can be considered "new money," Bailey’s $3.4 million average makes him the fifth-highest paid kicker in the game. When viewed as a seven-year deal it puts him inside the top 10.


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Bailey will receive base salaries of $900,000, $1.7 million (2015), $2.5 million (2016), $3.2 million (2017) and $3.4 million (2018-2020). His cap number in 2014 is $1.7 million, which is roughly $500,000 lower than what he would have counted if the Cowboys just gave him the $2.124 million second-round tender as a restricted free agent. His cap number in 2015 is $2.5 million, which is less than what the franchise tag would have been had he hit unrestricted free agency.

His cap number tops out at $4.2 million in 2018. Considering the kickers coming up behind him, like Justin Tucker and Greg Zuerlein, the Cowboys could be staring at a bargain by then. Yes, I realize all of this is predicated on Bailey remaining ultra-clutch and ultra-accurate. There has been no reason to think he won’t.

And there is also age to consider.

Bailey turns 26 on Sunday. Kickers can last a long, long time. Adam Vinatieri is 41. Phil Dawson turned 39 on Thursday. Jay Feely is 37. Matt Bryant is 38. They are all effective kickers.

It is easy to criticize the Cowboys for just about any signing when they are in the middle of such a playoff drought, but criticizing the signing of Bailey is as off as a Mike Vanderjagt field goal circa 2006.

5 Wonders: Ryan's replacement, No. 3 QB

November, 29, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- After four days in the Bahamas, I’m back wondering five things as the Cowboys prepare to head to Arizona on Sunday with the NFC East lead.

** Now that Jacksonville has started the ball rolling on the head coaching vacancies by canning Jack Del Rio, we’ll see just how hot a name Rob Ryan will be. The Cowboys defensive coordinator figures to be on the top of a few lists. I don’t see Jacksonville as his destination. For some reason, I wonder about Miami. But that’s not what this wonder is about. I’m wondering about Ryan’s replacement at defensive coordinator if he gets a head coaching job. I wonder if Matt Eberflus, the linebackers coach whom Ryan called the “DeMarcus Ware” of coaches in camp, would remain with the team or go with Ryan. Say he goes to Miami, the name to look for his Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. He runs the 3-4. He has an excellent background and I’d say he put on a pretty decent performance on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys. That defense is stout and playing awfully well right now.

** When the Cowboys played at Washington a couple of weeks ago I made reference to all of the wacky things that seem to happen at FedEx Field when they play the Redskins. And the Cowboys’ 27-24 win was another wacky affair. Now they had to University of Phoenix Stadium and their last two trips to the desert have been wacky affairs, leading me to wonder what wacky thing will happen Sunday. Do you remember the 2008 trip there? The Cowboys lose in overtime on a blocked punt that was scooped up for a touchdown. On the play Mat McBriar broke his foot. On the play prior to the punt, Tony Romo fractured his pinky finger. He missed three games and the Cowboys missed the playoffs by a game. That injury led more to the Cowboys missing the playoffs than any talk of poor chemistry, lack of leadership. Last year, David Buehler missed a point after attempt gave Dallas a 26-24 lead after Stephen McGee hit Miles Austin with a late TD pass. The Cards won it on a Jay Feely field goal with five seconds left. A missed PAT?

** Is it too early to wonder about playoff seeding? Probably, but who cares? Let’s concede homefield advantage through the postseason to undefeated Green Bay. Right now the Cowboys are the No. 4 seed behind San Francisco and New Orleans. If that holds and the Cowboys win a wild-card game, then they’d go to Green Bay for the second round of the playoffs with visions of last year’s 45-7 defeat at Lambeau Field in their head. They are a game back of the Saints for the No. 3 seed and you’d rather be the No. 3 seed heading to San Francisco in the divisional round than Green Bay. The Niners would seem to have the inside track on the No. 2 seed with games remaining against St. Louis (two), Arizona, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Maybe they lose to the Steelers. The Saints have Detroit, Tennessee (away), Minnesota (away), Atlanta and Carolina. New Orleans is a different team on the road so let’s say they lose to Minnesota and the Cowboys win out so both teams finish 12-4. That would give the Cowboys the No. 3 seed based on conference record and a return trip to Candlestick.

** I wonder if we saw the plan for Dez Bryant’s involvement in the return game last Thursday. When the Cowboys absolutely, positively needed to have a big punt return late in the fourth quarter against Miami, Bryant picked up 20 yards, which was the third-longest punt return the Cowboys had this year. As a result they started at their 36 instead of being pinned inside the 20 and were able to get into field goal range quickly. He is too valuable on offense to handle the job on a full-time basis, but what happened on Thanksgiving is the perfect happy medium.

** The Cowboys made a play for Kyle Orton and lost out to Kansas City on the waiver bid, but that doesn’t mean their search for a quarterback is over. I wonder if the Cowboys continue to look for a No. 3 quarterback. The dalliance with Orton should tell you Jon Kitna’s back injury is severe, even if coach Jason Garrett has hope in the veteran’s return. If the Cowboys were awarded Orton, Kitna would have been put on injured reserve. Plain and simple. So where do you look for QB help now? You’ve seen some vets like Jake Delhomme, Jeff Garcia and Trent Edwards get some workouts recently. Maybe they go there. But I wouldn’t rule out looking at practice squad quarterbacks either. Provided each team had up-to-date rosters on their Web sites, nine have quarterbacks on their practice squad: Pat Devlin (Miami), Zac Robinson (Cincinnati), Adam Weber (Denver), Drew Willy (San Diego), Ryan Perrilloux (NY Giants), Jonathan Crompton (Washington), Graham Harrell (Green Bay), John Parker Wilson (Atlanta) and Rudy Carpenter (Tampa Bay). Of all the names, Carpenter makes some sense since he was with the Cowboys in training camp in 2009 and spent time on their practice squad before jumping to the Buccaneers.

Cowboys bypass going for two points

December, 27, 2010
IRVING, Texas -- In the middle of the David Buehler mess -- where he missed a point-after attempt for the second time this season, leaving the door open for Arizona to win the game with a field goal -- was an interesting decision by Jason Garrett.

He didn't go for two.

After a Marion Barber touchdown cut the Cardinals' lead to 21-19 late in the third quarter, Garrett elected to kick the extra point instead of going for a two-point conversion.

The famous two-point conversion chart says to go for two if you're down two points.

"We were still in the third quarter, so the biggest thing at that point was just trying to accumulate points and not trying to match their score too early in the ballgame," Garrett said. "What happens when you start making those decisions is sometimes you get a little hasty and say, 'Ok if we get two here that will tie us up.' But typically what happens when you have another quarter to play, there are a couple more scores and the whole thing kinda plays itself out a little bit."

Garrett wanted a sure thing, which he got, at that stage and was only down, 21-20. The Cowboys defense forced a three-and-out on the Cardinals and got the ball to start the fourth quarter. Eventually the Cardinals increased their lead to 24-20 on a Jay Feely 49-yard field goal, but Stephen McGee was able to rally the Cowboys with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin that gave his team a 26-24 lead.

But it all came crashing down when Buehler missed the extra point and the defense struggled to keep Arizona from scoring.

"You have to execute in all three phases, and I think when we go back and look at this play-by-play, we'll see that we didn't do that well enough," Garrett said. "There were some big turnovers, there was a missed extra point. Those things come back to get you."

Kicker options are interesting for Dallas

February, 4, 2010
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Cowboys need a kicker.

Like, today.

Nick Folk was cut after missing an NFL-high 10 kicks in 2009. The team signed Shaun Suisham, but his return to the Cowboys is doubtful after he missed two attempts in the playoff loss to the Vikings. Suisham is a restricted free agent.

But there are some interesting names on the unrestricted free agent list for the Cowboys to sign. Neil Rackers, Shayne Graham, Matt Stover, Jay Feely, Sebastian Janikowski, Jeff Reed and Olindo Mare are a few.

Stover is playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday and is from Lake Highlands. He said it's always been a dream to play for the Cowboys. But age, 42, and the fact he doesn't have a strong leg, raises some concerns.

The Cowboys could also bring Folk back, but that appears doubtful. He blamed his holder, Mat McBriar for his problems, when clearly it was Folk who lost confidence in himself. If he regains it, he will be solid. Coming into the 2009 season, Folk made 86.8 percent of his kicks. But this season, Folk made just 64.3 percent of his kicks, good for 20th in the league.