Dallas Cowboys: Dan Bailey Gives Team Reason to Release David Buehler

Tom Firme@TFirmeAnalyst IISeptember 28, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 26:   Dan Bailey #5 of the Dallas Cowboys kicks the game winning field goal during their game against the Washington Redskins at Cowboys Stadium on September 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Dallas won 18-16. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys rookie kicker Dan Bailey was gold for the Cowboys on Monday night, much like Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould.  Bailey was perfect on six field goal attempts.

Bailey hit the net to score all 18 Cowboys points, which is an uncommon achievement for a kicker, let alone a rookie kicker.

Through three weeks, Bailey has been one of the most proficient kickers in the league, hitting nine of 10 field goals.  Bailey is tied for first in the NFL in field goals made and third in kicking points.

For the Cowboys, who struggled to fill the kicker position, Bailey may be the answer.

Not every Lou Groza Award winner turns out to be a good NFL kicker.

Just ask the New York Jets, who wasted a second-round draft pick on Lou Groza Award-winner Mike Nugent, only to see him give them one good year in three-plus seasons.

Thus far, Bailey has been clutch for the Cowboys.  Bailey has delivered in a way the Cowboys could hardly have expected, already having kicked two game-winning field goals in his first three games.  Notching all of the points for the Cowboys in a game in which they were plagued with injuries and played too sloppily on offense to reach the end zone is a great credit to him.

Considering that Bailey has come through for the Cowboys the way he has, the Cowboys have a decision to make.

Do they want to keep two kickers on the roster, something that teams rarely do?

Dallas is a big city, but no place is big enough to house two kickers.

With Bailey showing promise, the Cowboys should release their other kicker, David Buehler.

Buehler became a de facto member of the Cowboys roster when no one—even Buehler—impressed in the preseason.  The Cowboys felt so insecure about the kicker position that they signed Bailey to aid the kicking game after deciding to retain Buehler.

While the signing of Bailey was a no-confidence vote on Buehler, the sheer lack of confidence in Buehler appeared when Jason Garrett declared Bailey the field goal kicker and Buehler the kickoff specialist.

That move symbolized how much Garrett needed to show why he had kept Buehler.

Buehler is a poor kicker, anyway.  In 2010, Buehler hit 75 percent of his field goal attempts.  With that rate, the Cowboys could have left the position empty and asked Dirk Nowitzki to come and float the ball through the uprights.

Bailey has been a strong contributor for the Cowboys thus far this season.  To become a meaningful contributor, Buehler would need to find another team.

In order to do that, he would need the Cowboys to release him.  Releasing Buehler would be good for both the Cowboys and Buehler.  The Cowboys would relieve themselves of a salary they don't need to pay and Buehler would be able to sign with a team where he could kick field goals.

As far as the Cowboys are concerned, the Cowboys look like they have their man in Bailey.  Bailey has been reliable kicking field goals, which gives the Cowboys reason to put great trust in him.