In their search for a new kicker, the Dallas Cowboys have made a decidedly unconventional choice, turning their gaze towards former USFL standout Brandon Aubrey. After considering “everyone on earth,” according to the team’s special teams coach John Fassel in May, the Cowboys finally reached a contract agreement with Aubrey.
In eschewing NFL-experienced kickers like Mason Crosby or Robbie Gould, the Cowboys have cast their lot with a man who had spent the majority of his life as a soccer player before making the switch to football in 2022.
Originally a soccer player at Notre Dame from 2013 through 2016, Aubrey then entered the MLS SuperDraft in 2017, becoming the 21st overall pick by Toronto FC. However, after a solitary season in Toronto and subsequent attempts to prolong his soccer career, Aubrey took a sharp turn to explore a different sport. His professional football journey began in 2022 when the Birmingham Stallions selected him as the 260th overall pick in the USFL Draft.
Over two seasons with the Stallions, Aubrey has proven his mettle as one of the USFL’s top kickers, contributing significantly to the team’s two titles. The 28-year-old enjoyed an almost flawless 2023 season, hitting 14 of 15 field goals and maintaining a perfect 35 of 35 record on extra points. This exemplary performance likely enticed the Cowboys, who endured a kicking nightmare during last season’s playoffs when Brett Maher managed just one of six extra points across two games.
The Stallions released Aubrey from his contract on July 3, paving the way for his signing with the Cowboys this Thursday. He is set to compete against Tristan Vizcaino for the Cowboys’ kicking job. Vizcaino, an NFL veteran, has played ten games over the past three seasons, achieving a 91.7% field goal success rate.
However, as training camp looms, a couple of critical questions hang over Aubrey. Can he withstand the intense pressure associated with the NFL, and can he master long-distance kicks? While his USFL record is admirable, his longest successful kick was from 49 yards out (his solitary miss originated from beyond 50 yards). If Aubrey can demonstrate his prowess in these areas, he stands a good chance of securing a spot on the Cowboys’ roster.
This signing follows the Cowboys’ trend of looking to the USFL for talent, which proved successful last year when they signed league MVP KaVontae Turpin, who went on to earn a Pro Bowl nomination as a returner. As training camp begins later this month in Oxnard, California, all eyes will be on this unlikely NFL hopeful.