The Arizona Cardinals signed veteran placekicker Brett Maher to the practice squad as a backup plan for the COVID-19 pandemic
A couple of weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals elevated a player from their practice squad to help stabilize their placekicking situation. Zane Gonzalez, a youngster who had converted 31 of his 35 field-goal tries in 2019, had suddenly become unreliable. Veteran Mike Nugent replaced the erratic Gonzalez on December 12th, and has not missed a field goal or extra-point attempt since.
Now that Nugent has taken over Arizona’s kicking duties, the club’s front office went on the lookout for a COVID-19 backup plan for the position. On Christmas Day, Cards general manager Steve Keim decided that Brett Maher would take on that role for the team. The journeyman was signed to the franchise’s practice squad, and will serve as Big Red’s new emergency solution at the placekicker spot.
Nugent became the number-one kicker just prior to Arizona’s week 14 victory over the New York Giants. Suddenly, almost out of thin air, it was announced that Gonzalez had suffered a back injury. The 25-year old was placed on the injured-reserve list on December 19th, opening the door for Nugent to become the Cardinals placekicker for the duration of the 2020 campaign.
Maher is a journeyman who had spent time with five different NFL organizations before coming to the desert. Included on that list are the New York Jets (two stints), the Dallas Cowboys (two stints), the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Football Team and the Houston Texans. Maher has also been employed by a total of three Canadian Football League teams as well.
The 31-year old Maher did have accuracy issues last season while playing for the Cowboys. The 6’0, 190 pounder was released by Dallas in December of ’19 after he made good on just 20 of his 30 field-goal attempts for the squad. Maher did flash some impressive leg strength, however, when he drilled home a 63-yard field-goal try versus the Philadelphia Eagles on October 20th.