Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey is one of the best in the business, and he came into the season only needing to improve on field goals beyond 50 yards. Bailey certainly achieved that goal, as he booted six of his seven field goals from 50 yards and over through the uprights, which marks a significant improvement between his 2-4 and 3-5 totals in his first two seasons. Breakout third years are usually associated with position players, but Bailey did a great job of breaking out in his third year as a specialist. He’s always been very good and among the most accurate kickers in the NFL, but now he is simply one of the best kickers in the NFL overall due to his improved leg strength.
Bailey is a restricted free agent this offseason, and the Cowboys obviously want to lock up their star kicker before he hits free agency. According to Cowboys official site beat writer Rowan Kavner, Stephen Jones stated that the Cowboys and Bailey are in “pretty serious talks” with Bailey regarding a long-term contract. Jones, per Kavner, is “optimistic” that both sides can agree to a long-term pact, and I would be surprised if a deal isn’t agreed upon soon.
In 2013, Bailey converted on 28 of his 30 kicks, and even though it was 0.2% lower than his percentage last year, he was actually significantly better this season. Bailey’s field goals were more difficult, as he attempted five more field goals from at least 40 yards out than he did last year. Plus, a difference of 0.2% would be meaningless even if he had attempted the same types of field goals. It’s clear that Bailey is only getting better, and his 93.3% field goals percentage and 16-17 conversion rate this past season on field goals of at least 40 yards are incredibly impressive totals.