Until two weeks ago, place kicker Brett Maher’s title was “former Cowboys kicker” and was known mostly for his playoff meltdown last season.
But it’s a new season, and Maher, who signed a one-year $1.08 million contract with the Denver Broncos just last week, is hoping a reunification with Sean Payton will improve his chances at being the lock he was with Payton’s Saints and last year’s regular season Cowboys.
Height: 6-foot-1| Weight: 183 pounds
Experience: Fifth season | Age: 33 years old
Few NFL fans are unfamiliar with Maher’s 2022 season in Dallas. Or at least the end to that season.
After finishing the regular season with a 90.6% completion rate on kicks (eighth in the NFL), which included hitting 9 of 11 from 50 yards or more, Maher had a disastrous Wild Card game, missing four extra points in a row.
Brett Maher lines up the extra point!pic.twitter.com/77ch4YteQy— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) July 22, 2023
But still, Maher ended the season tied for the best percentage in the league among kicks of 58 yards or less and is the current NFL record holder for number of kicks at least 60 yards or more (four).
“We like his talent. Obviously, he had a tough game, but, shoot, when you look at the body of work, it’s been pretty impressive,” Payton said when they signed Maher.
For the Cowboys’ 17 regular season games, Maher connected on 29-of-32 (90.6%) attempts, a career best. He was 9-of-11 from at least 50 yards and 50-of-53 on extra-point attempts. Two of Maher’s three misses were from at least 59 yards.
In between Maher’s three seasons with the Cowboys, he spent the 2021 season at New Orleans under then head coach Sean Payton, where he appeared in eight games. Maher made 16-of-18 field-goal attempts that year, one of his misses being from beyond 55 yards.
Source confirms Broncos have reached 1-year agreement with kicker Brett Maher. He kicked for Sean Payton with Saints in 2021. Had great season with Cowboys last year until extra-point yips in playoffs. Had minicamp tryout with Broncos in mid-June. #9sports— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) July 22, 2023
2023 outlook for Broncos kicker Brett Maher
At the moment Maher is one of two potential kickers for the Broncos, and given his positive history with Payton, may have the upper hand early in the competition. But the head coach doesn’t seem easily swayed by past accomplishment, and he noted on Day 2 of training camp that both have been solid so far.
“We had a kicking competition in New Orleans between two guys that went all the way through training camp. I mean charted and everything,” Payton said, adding that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called him at the end of training camp to tell him they were releasing a kicker he felt strongly about. “We brought him in for a workout and ended up signing him and releasing the other two.”
That kicker was Will Lutz, who has an 84.6% career field goals made average for the Saints since 2016. The only season he missed was 2021 due to injury, the year Maher ended up filling in.
The point is, for Payton everything is on the table and this kicker competition could go down to the wire depending on how both perform - and could also take a sharp turn if Payton sees someone better out there.
“It’s a little cleaner when you are watching them kick,” Payton said about evaluating players in camp. “Fortunately, I don’t know if we have missed [a kick] yet. We’ve had two good periods now.... Hopefully that continues.”
Brett Maher will never miss another extra point ever again https://t.co/XpwHNDsz9V— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) July 22, 2023
Fry is the definite underdog in this competition, so I believe it is Maher’s job to lose. But Payton & Co. will definitely be watching how Maher handles the pressure along with all the kicks.
The new head coach said last week he expects this team to go to the playoffs, so he will not want a kicker he can’t trust to have ice in his veins come playoff time.
Is Brett Maher the next Broncos’ kicker?
This poll is closed
At least until the playoffs
I don’t know; Fry has a good chance
I miss Brandon McManus