Kai Forbath

Cowboys Waive Brett Maher, Sign Kai Forbath

The Cowboys are making a change at kicker. Dallas has waived Brett Maher and is signing Kai Forbath, per a team announcement.

In the wake of Maher’s struggles in 2019, the Cowboys worked out three kickers last week, but they elected to give Maher another shot. Unfortunately, Maher missed a field goal attempt in the team’s loss to the Bears on Thursday, so Dallas hosted another workout today. Forbath was obviously one of the three kickers the team brought in, along with Nick Rose and Tristan Vizcaino (Rose and Vizcaino were also part of last week’s audition).

Forbath has much more experience than his fellow tryout candidates, which obviously appeals to the Cowboys. Over parts of seven seasons with five different clubs, Forbath has a strong 85.8% success rate on field goal attempts. He kicked for the Patriots last week as a one-game fill-in for Nick Folk, making a 23-yard field goal attempt and going 1-2 on extra points.

Maher, meanwhile, hits the waiver wire after he was unable to replicate his solid 2018 performance. He converted just 66.7% of his field goal tries in 2019, and he missed all but one of his five tries from 40-49 yards. The Cowboys, in the thick of a division title race, exercised as much patience as they could but ultimately were compelled to move on.

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Cowboys Working Out Kickers Monday

It looks like Dallas is about to make their kicking change, and they could be down to a couple of finalists. The Cowboys will workout Kai Forbath, Nick Rose, and Tristan Vizcaino on Monday, sources told Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

Brett Maher had already been on thin ice, and then he missed another crucial kick during Dallas’ loss to the Bears. A couple of days ago following the Cowboys’ latest embarrassing defeat on Thursday Night Football, head coach Jason Garrett seemed to heavily indicate that they were going to make a change. “Obviously, we have to do a close evaluation of it,” Garrett said. “We brought three kickers in earlier in the week. We decided to give Brett an opportunity this week. It didn’t work out. So we have to take a real close, hard look at that.”

Garrett was referring to the kicker workout the Cowboys held last week, which included Vizcaino and Roose. They opted not to sign anyone and give Maher one more week to prove himself, but apparently liked what they saw from those two. Vizcaino is a Washington product who has never kicked in the NFL, and he made only 12 kicks during his college career. Rose has had brief stints with the Chargers and Redskins.

Forbath, the former Redskins and Vikings kicker, resurfaced briefly with the Patriots last week. He was only used as a one-game fill-in after Nick Folk was sidelined by an appendectomy. He missed an extra point during his one game with New England. Maher surprisingly beat out longtime kicker Dan Bailey last offseason and had a solid rookie campaign with Dallas, but it looks like his time has ran out. Expect word of a signing early this week.

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Patriots Waive K Kai Forbath

The Patriots have waived kicker Kai Forbath, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). To fill his spot on the roster, the Pats claimed defensive tackle Albert Huggins off of waivers from the Eagles. 

[RELATED: Rob Gronkowski Ineligible To Return In 2019]

The Patriots signed Forbath last week as a one-game fill-in for Nick Folk. Forbath made his lone field goal attempt from 23 yards out, but missed one of his two extra point tries. It’s believed that Folk will be ready to go for Sunday, but even if he’s not, the Patriots will look for help elsewhere.

The cup of coffee completes yet another NFL stop for Forbath, who has now kicked in games for the Patriots, Redskins, Saints, Vikings, and Jaguars. Meanwhile, he’s the Patriots fourth kicker of the 2019 season, following Stephen Gostkowski, Mike Nugent, and Folk.

With the Pats, Folk has connected on 7-of-9 field goal tries and all three of his extra point attempts across three games. Two of those misses in his last outing against the Cowboys, but the Pats still came away with the 13-9 win, with Folk’s 42-yard connection in the fourth quarter helping to seal the deal.

After Sunday’s loss to the Texans, the 10-2 Patriots will finish out the regular season against the Chiefs, Bengals, Bills, and Dolphins.

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Patriots To Sign Kai Forbath

The Patriots are expected to sign veteran kicker Kai Forbath to replace Nick Folk, sources tell ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). With that, Forbath will serve as the Pats’ kicker against the Texans on Sunday. 

On Thursday, we learned that Folk will miss one game as he recovers from an appendectomy. The surgery was minimally invasive, so the belief is that he will be ready to roll against the Chiefs on December 8.

Forbath kicked in three games for the Jaguars last season and served as the Vikings’ full-time kicker in 2017. For his career, Forbath has made 85.7% of his field goal tries for the Redskins, Saints, Vikes, and Jaguars.

In other Pats news, the club released tackle Jared Veldheer from the reserve/retired list earlier this week. Despite his injury issues, the nine-year veteran is reportedly in good shape and could profile as an emergency fill-in for a contender in need.

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NFL Workout Updates: 11/27/19

Here is the latest from the workout circuit on Wednesday:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Miami Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Washington

Patriots Work Out Five Kickers

The Patriots are in need of a new kicker after placing Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve earlier today, and they worked out five free agents on Wednesday. New England took a look at Kai Forbath, Elliott Fry, Mike Nugent, Blair Walsh, and Matthew Wright today, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com.

New England will need another kicker for Sunday’s contest against the Redskins, but the club doesn’t seem to be acting with any sense of urgency. The Patriots are not expected to sign a kicker today and may bring in more free agents on Thursday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Chargers also held kicker auditions today, which created travel issues for several free agents, per RapSheet.

Nugent by far the most experienced of the kickers that tried out for the Patriots, having attempted more than 300 field goals during his career, but both Walsh and Forbath have each attempted more than 100 kicks each. Fry lost the Bears’ kicking competition over the summer, while Wright is an undrafted rookie free agent.

Meanwhile, Kaare Vedvik — who was traded from the Ravens to the Vikings this offseason before briefly landing with the Jets — declined to work out for the Patriots, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Vedvik is focusing on punting and kickoffs rather than field goals.

Jaguars Cut Kai Forbath

No surprise here, but the Jaguars have released kicker Kai Forbath, according to a team announcement. The move was expected after the Jags re-upped Josh Lambo on a four-year, $15.5MM extension

[RELATED: Jaguars Re-Sign Lambo]

Forbath, was signed in December when Lambo went down with a groin injury. Over the course of a few games, Lambo connected on 4-of-5 field goal tries, including a long of 41 yards. His only miss came from 50+ yards in the team’s Week 17 loss to the Texans.

Forbath, 32 in September, spent part of 2016 and all of 2017 with the Vikings, but he was released in August of 2018 after losing the kicking competition to Daniel Carlson. Forbath connected on 88.7% of his field goal tries in Minnesota, but his 84.9% extra point conversion rate left much to be desired.

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Jaguars To Sign K Kai Forbath

Jaguars have signed free agent kicker Kai Forbath, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Forbath will serve as insurance for Josh Lambo, who is questionable for Sunday’s game with a groin injury.

Forbath has been busy lately. Earlier this week, he auditioned for the Steelers and was asked to stay overnight as the team mulled its options. Ultimately, the Steelers decided to stick it out with Chris Boswell, but Forbath quickly found a job after his audition with the Jaguars. Forbath worked out alongside fellow free agents Caleb Sturgis and Marshall Koehn, according to Rapoport, and had the best showing of the group.

Forbath, 31, spent part of 2016 and all of 2017 with the Vikings, but he was released in August after losing the kicking competition to Daniel Carlson. Forbath connected on 88.7% of his field goal tries in Minnesota, but his 84.9% extra point conversion rate left much to be desired.

If Lambo isn’t cleared in time, Forbath will have an opportunity to make his first kick of 2018 against the Redskins.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Dolphins, Ravens, Jets

Free agent kicker Kai Forbath was impressive during his Wednesday workout with the Steelers, and Pittsburgh is “keeping him on hold” while they determine a course of action with incumbent Chris Boswell, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Boswell’s fate with the Steelers could well rest on his performance during Thursday’s practice, per Fowler. Boswell missed two field goals against the Raiders on Sunday, including one that would have tied the game as regulation expired. All told this year, Boswell has missed six field goal attempts (leaving with him a conversion percentage that ranks last in the NFL) and five extra points. According to Football Outsiders’ special teams metrics, the Steelers’ kicking game is the second-worst in the league.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Ryan Tannehill‘s injury woes continue, as the Dolphins quarterback suffered an ankle injury in Miami’s stunning victory over the Patriots on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Tannehill practiced on Wednesday and should be able to face the Vikings in Week 15, head coach Adam Gase told reporters, including Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link), but Rapoport indicates Tannehill could be limited against Minnesota. Tannehill himself, meanwhile, said he’s “encouraged” by his progress thus far, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. The Dolphins will be fighting for their playoff lives, as FiveThirtyEight.com currently gives them a one-in-five chance of earning a postseason berth.
  • The Ravens appear likely to target safety help early in the 2019 draft, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Eric Weddle could potentially be released next spring if he doesn’t retire, and hanging up the cleats is a possibility for the veteran defensive back giving that he’ll be entering his age-34 campaign. Tony Jefferson won’t be released due to the dead money that would be associated with such a move, but there’s no question Baltimore needs help at safety. As Zrebiec indicates, the Ravens have been horrendous against opposing tight ends, and rank 26th against the position in DVOA.
  • If/when the Jets part ways with Todd Bowles, Gang Green should pursue John Harbaugh as their next head coach, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. Harbaugh, of course, isn’t nearly the lock to be fired that Bowles is, as Baltimore still has a decent chance of making the postseason, either by winning the AFC North or by securing the No. 6 seed. But if he is available, Harbaugh would add “instant credibility” to a Jets organization that desperately needs it. If Harbaugh doesn’t hit the coaching market, other veterans like Mike McCarthy or Jack Del Rio could be considered by New York, but Costello expects the Jets to target a young offensive mind instead.
  • The Raiders are seeking a new general manager after firing Reggie McKenzie earlier this week, and one name that could surface during the search is Jets director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. However, as Robinson writes, it’s unclear if the Oakland job will have any sort of allure around the NFL, especially given that most executives will see the gig as nothing short of being Jon Gruden‘s “puppet master.” Heimerdinger, for his part, is currently in his third season with New York after previously spending time with the Rams and Texans.

Steelers To Work Out Kickers

The Steelers are giving serious thought to moving on from kicker Chris Boswell. On Wednesday, the club flew in free agent kickers Kai Forbath and Matt McCrane to compete with the incumbent kicker, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Days after Boswell missed two field goals, including a game tying try, against the Raiders, head coach Mike Tomlin admitted that he would consider alternatives. He also noted the general lack of quality options in the free agent pool and he was therefore undecided on whether to audition other kickers. After some consideration, the Steelers opted to open up a competition.

Boswell’s miss at the end of Sunday’s game can be attributed to the bad turf in Oakland, but the rest of his struggles this year cannot be written off. Of course, this comes just months after the Steelers gave him a four-year, $19.2MM extension with a $6MM roster bonus, which may complicate the final decision.

The division-leading Steelers finish out the year against the Patriots, Saints, and Bengals. Thanks to a three-game losing streak, they lead the Ravens by just 0.5 games for the AFC North crown.

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