Cowboys Losing Interest In Vinatieri?

Vinatieri may want to speed up his negotiations. In what was expected to be a monster contract year for the Patriots free agent kicker, free wheeling franchises are slowing down as their cap space disappears. Some teams are beginning to look for less expensive alternatives. According to our insiders, Dallas is backing away from rumors that they're hot for New England's kicker. Actually, they have a new target.

Almost a full week into free agency, the Dallas Cowboys were expected to have their place-kicking woes behind them.

Thoughts of Billy Cundiff and Jose Cortez missing critical field goals in the second half of games were going to be nothing more than a distant memory.

Right? Well, not yet at least.

With Ryan Longwell (Minnesota) and Matt Bryant (Tampa Bay) signing elsewhere, the Cowboys have seen the number of quality available kickers shrink considerably.

At the same time, sources tell that the Cowboys still consider themselves to be in a "buyer's market" when it comes to the number of available kickers this off-season. In fact, four candidates are on the Cowboys' radar: Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt (UFA), Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri (UFA), Seattle's Josh Brown (RFA), and maybe Atlanta's Todd Peterson (UFA).

Narrowing that list down is relatively easy: the problem with Vanderjagt is he usually doesn't handle kickoffs. The problem with Vinatieri is that he will command too much money.

However, Brown, a restricted free agent, may be quickly emerging as the leading candidate to handle kicking duties next year in Dallas.

Thursday afternoon, Brown's agent, Robert Roche, confirmed with that Dallas has been in contact as recently as the past few days. "Yes, they (the Cowboys) contacted us earlier this week," he said.

Roche also said while the Cowboys have shown interest, they have not yet signed him to an offer sheet.

As a restricted free agent, Seattle has already tendered a one-year, $712,000 offer to Brown. The team would have to receive a seventh-round draft pick as compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Given the Cowboys current situation, the signing of Brown seems to make a good bit of sense. For starters, he has a very strong leg (5-of-8 from 50+ yards last season with a long of 55 yards). He also has the ability to handle kickoffs, which is a skill that is important to Bill Parcells, and he's also proven to be one of the more reliable kickers in the league (39-of-42 inside of 40 yards for his career).

Brown, who has been in the league for three years after finishing his college career at Nebraska, also has his best days ahead of him.

And most importantly, he will not command Adam Vinatieri kind of money.

Sources reiterated to Thursday afternoon that Dallas has not set up a visit with Vinatieri and that interest is still minimal due the price tag that would go along with signing him.

The 10-year veteran is expected to visit Green Bay Friday.

Meanwhile, Mike Vanderjagt's agent contacted Dallas last weekend, but any further interest by the Cowboys' organization has yet to be confirmed.

Related: Brown's Profile || Vinatieri Profile || Vanderjagt's Profile || More articles on Brown || More articles on Vinatieri || More articles on Vanderjagdt

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