PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 01: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Although many people tend to focus on free-agent additions and draft picks during the NFL offseason, undrafted free agents don’t deserve to be ignored. Some of the best players in the history of the league started their careers as UDFAs. Names on that list include Warren Moon, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Kurt Warner, and a few famous Dallas Cowboys.
This offseason, the Cowboys added a whopping 20 players to their offseason programming via UDFA signings. Some may never make the team, but others like Markquese Bell, Jonathan Garibay, Alex Lindstrom, and Isaac Taylor Stuart have generated quite the buzz. One or more of those 20 players may go on to make a huge impact on the Cowboys roster.
The #Cowboys had the No. 1 UDFA class in 2022, according to @thorku from NBC Sports:https://t.co/XVXpyfYDxV pic.twitter.com/P5GHZ2zod8
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) May 16, 2022
With all of this in mind, we wanted to take a look at some of the top UDFAs in Cowboys history. This just goes to show you how you should never underestimate an undrafted player.
ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 18: Dan Bailey #5 of the Dallas Cowboys kicks a field goal during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Bailey was an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State who turned out to be a Pro Bowl kicker. From 2005-2010, the Cowboys struggled to find the right kicker. When Dallas picked him up ahead of the 2011 season, he had to compete with three other kickers in order to earn a spot.
That season, Bailey set a franchise rookie record with 32 field goals made and tied a Cowboys record with 26 field goal attempts made in a row. His incredible accuracy throughout his first three years earned him a massive (for a kicker) seven-year, $25 million contract back in 2014.
For many years, Bailey and Justin Tucker went head to head as the best kickers in the league. Since the team decided to cut him in 2017, the Cowboys have yet to find a longstanding, reliable kicker like him. Bailey provided longevity and unexpected success that the team probably never imagined they’d get out of a UDFA.
Hopefully, the same thing happens in 2022 for Texas Tech kicker Jonathan Garibay.
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