Throughout the 2016 season and into the offseason, Arizona Cardinals' head coach Bruce Arians maintained his belief that kicker Chandler Catanzaro would be able to turn things around.
On Thursday, Catanzaro learned that if a turnaround is going to take place, it won't happen in Arizona.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cardinals signed free agent kicker Phil Dawson to replace Catanzaro as the team's placekicker for the 2017 season. Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic was the first to report the two sides were close to reaching a deal.
The 42-year-old Dawson is entering his 19th NFL season and joining his third team after spending the first 14 years of his career with the Cleveland Browns and the last four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Dawson is 404-for-478 (84.5 percent) in his career on field goal attempts and has made 38 career kicks from beyond 50 yards with a career-long of 56 yards set back in 2008.
Dawson replaces Catanzaro, who did not receive a tender offer from the Cardinals before Thursday and will hit the free agent market. Catanzaro joined the Cardinals in 2014 out of Clemson and has served as the team's primary placekicker for the last three seasons.
Catanzaro ranked among the league's best kickers during the first two seasons of his career, making 57-of-64 attempts including a long of 57 yards. However, in 2016, his production dipped as he made just 21-of-28 field goals while missing four of his 47 extra point attempts.
Catanzaro's struggles were most evident in two key Cardinals' contests this season, an opening week loss against New England in which he missed a potential game-winning kick in the closing minute, and a midseason tie against Seattle in which he had a field goal blocked and missed a potential game-winning 24-yard attempt in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Arizona's special teams units were among the worst in the league in 2016, and now both Catanzaro and punter Drew Butler, who began the 2016 season as the Cardinals' starter, have been replaced.
While Catanzaro has struggled on extra points, Dawson has been one of the league's best in converting point after attempts, making 53-of-55 attempts over the last two seasons.
The Cardinals' decision to sign Dawson comes hours after the team locked up a deal with another former 49ers' player, safety Antoine Bethea, who joins Arizona after spending the last three seasons with San Francisco.