It's been almost two weeks since the start of free agency, but the Dallas Cowboys have finally signed a new kicker.
Thursday, the team signed veteran Mike Vanderjagt to a three-year deal, TheRanchReport.com has learned.
Financial terms were not immediately available.
The former Indianapolis Colt is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, connecting on 217-of-248 field goals (87.5%) with a long of 54 yards during his career.
He also had one of the most productive seasons in NFL history in 2003 when he was perfect for the entire season, connecting on 37-of-37 field goal attempts and 46-46 PATs for 157 total points.
Last season, he connected on 23-of-25 attempts and all 37 of his PATs.
Despite his proven track record on the field, he has also been the subject of a good bit of controversy off the field.
While in Indianapolis, Vanderjagt challenged the leadership ability of Colts QB Peyton Manning and head coach Tony Dungy in a radio interview two years ago.
"I'm not a real big Colts fan right now, unfortunately," he said during the interview. "I just don't see us getting better. Coach Dungy, he's just a mild-mannered guy. He doesn't get too excited, he doesn't get too down and I don't think that works, either. ... I think you need a motivator, I think you need a guy that is going to get in somebody's face when they're not performing well enough."
Manning retaliated at the Pro Bowl just a few days later when he said, "The sad thing is, he's a good kicker. He's a good kicker. But he's an idiot."
Vanderjagt also missed badly on a 46-yard potential game-tying field goal in a playoff loss to Pittsburgh only to later appear on "Late Night with David Letterman" on national television just a few days later to kick a 46-yard field goal on New York City street.
The Colts were not amused by the stunt and elected to not bring him back for a ninth season.
In addition, the Cowboys will have to consider other options on kick-offs, as Vanderjagt has not proven effective in that area of the game, averaging just over 60 yards per kick.
Still, the signing of Vanderjagt addresses one of the biggest needs for the Cowboys this off-season as the team lost three games last year by three points or less and keep in mind that no kicker in NFL history has been more accurate.
Dallas has also done well to address other team needs, including adding a much-needed wide receiver in Terrell Owens, two offensive linemen in guard Kyle Kosier and tackle Jason Fabini, LB Akin Ayodele- who could play inside or out, LB Rocky Boiman- a special teams ace and reserve player, and TE Ryan Hannam, who will replace veteran Dan Campbell.
The one area Dallas has yet to address in free agency is free safety.
Former Texans' safety Marcus Coleman remains an option, but the Cowboys should look towards April's draft to also provide immediate help.
Nebraska's Daniel Bullocks, South Carolina's Ko Simpson, Ohio State's Donte Whitner, Virginia Tech's Jimmy Williams and Texas' Michael Huff are all targets under consideration in either the first or second round.
3-Year Deal for Vanderjagt; What Next?
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