Already with company in training camp in the form of free agents Dan Bailey and Kai Forbath, David Buehler's job as Cowboys' kicker became more tenuous Tuesday when the team signed veteran Shayne Graham.
Graham made his name with the Bengals from 2003-09, and last year was 12 of 12 for the Patriots in the regular season and 2-2 in their playoff loss to the Jets. This preseason he missed kicks from 49 and 29 yards in the Redskins' opener and was released.
He's a veteran with big-game experience, something the Cowboys might settle for in the wake of draft picks Nick Folk and now Buehler not exactly answering their kicker question.
Amazing how kickers are merely afterthought interchangables in the NFL, and how most -- other than Jason Elam with the Broncos or the Redskins' Mark Moseley or the Raiders' George Blanda and Sebastian Janikowski -- don't stick with one team long enough to form an identity.
How important are they? I'm saying a kicker is more important than a baseball closer. Because while a good closer will seal the deal on maybe 45 wins (about 1/4th of his team's games), a kicker might have a foot in half his team's outcomes. For example, last season seven of the Cowboys' 16 games -- including the final six under Jason Garrett -- were decided by 3 points or less.
From the first (Fred Cone) through the most recent (Graham), a look at the best feet in Cowboys' history.
10. Toni Fritsch -- Austrian was one of NFL's first soccer-style kickers in '72, but missed 38 of 99 FGs over three seasons.
9. Ken Willis -- Connected on four 50+-yard FGs in '90-91.
8. Mike Clark -- Made 68 FGs from '68-71, including a rare 9-yarder in Super Bowl VI.
7. Richie Cunningham -- Team-record 34 FGs in 37 attempts in '97.
6. Eddie Murray -- His one season was a beeyewt, making game-winner at Giants to clinch NFC East and help Dallas to Super Bowl XXVIII.
5. Billy Cundiff -- Made a record-tying 7 FGs in a Monday Night Football win in '03 and boomed franchise's longest (56) in '05.
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4. Efren Herrera -- Made 18 FGs and the '77 Pro Bowl leading Cowboys to Super Bowl XII.
3. Nick Folk -- Missed only 7 FGs first two seasons and made '07 Pro Bowl as a rookie.
2. Rafael Septien -- Longest-tenured Cowboys' kicker held job for 9 seasons between '78-86.
1. Chris Boniol -- Led NFL in FG percentage in consecutive seasons, making 59 of 64 in '95-96.