Social media lit up when the Cowboys released kicker Dan Bailey, the second most accurate kicker of all time. No, the Seahawks do not need him.
Every year there are some pretty big shocks on cut day. 2018 was no exception, and one of the biggest names to get a visit from the Turk was longtime Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey. After Sebastian Janikowski struggled in the final preseason game versus the Los Angeles Raiders, there has been some buzz that the Seahawks should sign Bailey. Not so fast, 12s.
As almost every article and social media post mentioned, Bailey is the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history (behind the Baltimore Ravens Justin Tucker). As a sidebar, both Bailey and Tucker were signed as undrafted free agents. Between the two of them, they’ve scored 1,645 points for there teams. That’s an average of 126 points per season. Not too shabby for guys that weren’t even worth a seventh round flyer.
Back to Bailey. As reported by our FanSided sister site The Landry Hat, Bailey’s release is controversial, to say the least. Bailey hit his peak in 2015 when he hit 30 of 32 field goals. He dropped off a bit in the next season, but 2017 turned out to be part one of his downfall.
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Bailey suffered a groin injury (not great for anyone but especially kickers) and missed four games. He had by far the worst season of his career, as he missed five of his twenty field goal attempts. He even missed two extra point kicks, the first he’d ever missed. For context, the Seahawks would have traded for that performance last year.
It always comes down to money
Part two of Bailey’s problem was his contract. This will sound familiar to 12s, I’m sure. In 2014 Bailey signed a seven year, $22.5 million contract. He was due $3.4 million this season. His replacement, Brett Maher, will make $480 thousand. Sounds a lot like when the Seahawks released long time kicker Steven Hauschka to save a few million. I’ll admit at the time I thought the move would work out. Um…not so much.
Bailey’s defenders point out that most of his misses in the last two years were on long kicks. That is close to true, as five of his ten misses were at 50 yards or longer. It’s also true that he missed from 34, 48, and 23 yards in his last three games. Those two missed extra points came in his last four games.
Back to replacing Seabass with Bailey. There was a bit of a firestorm on Janikowski’s performance against his former team last week. He missed two of his three extra point attempts. In 563 career kicks, Seabass had only missed six. So is this a legitimate cause for concern? Not according to coach Pete Carroll, it isn’t. Regarding his kicker’s rare misses, Carroll had this to say:
"“I think the competitive situation for Seabass got him a little bit,” Carroll said after the game. “I think he wanted to do so well I think he over-tried a little bit. Look at his first kickoff. I think with all of the history, the background, he wanted to do so well, he probably over-tried a little bit.”"
I buy that one hundred percent. Janikowski has been golden this preseason. Until Thursday night, he’d hit every kick, even crushing a 55 yard field goal. There isn’t any reason to think Seabass will be anything except one of the NFL’s greatest kickers. For Dan Bailey’s sake, I hope he bounces back with a new team and continues his stellar career. Seattle just isn’t the team that needs him.