The Cowboys defensive end position is one that runs the gamut of possibilities. On the pessimistic end, you could say the Cowboys have DeMarcus Lawrence, and then a lot of pieces that they will have to make work on the field. On the optimistic end, there is the possibility of Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory returning, which would certainly boost the prospects of the position, especially if they aren’t too rusty.
Both Smith and Gregory are reportedly in different stages of asking for reinstatement from Roger Goodell. Stephen Jones updated the situation of the two defensive ends.
“We haven’t heard anything,” Jones said. “I do know for sure Aldon has been in front of the Commissioner. He’s waiting to hear back. I think Randy may or — I’m not exactly sure where that is. Sometimes we’re not privy to that. We’re not sure when we’ll hear something. Obviously, the league is looking out for their best interest. As men off the field and certainly that’s what’s first and foremost and the priority is how they’re coming off the field. If ultimately they get to a point which we think they can that Roger [Goodell] feels like they can come back to work and play football and that’s in their best interest in addition to what they need off the field, then certainly we’ll welcome them back and go to work.”
Smith already meeting with the commissioner should mean that sometime this offseason the Cowboys would get word on whether he can return. Gregory’s situation is always shrouded in a little more mystery. Last year over the offseason, there were reports that Gregory was putting in the paperwork for reinstatement, but nothing ever came of that. So whether he is pushing the situation along at this time is unknown.
The new CBA is much more lenient about marijuana use which would be more applicable in Gregory’s case. But, the CBA isn’t retroactive on that issue so players previously suspended are still under the old rules unless Goodell changes things up. Jones commented on that:
“Well, it’s just now getting implemented with the new CBA,” Jones said. “So we’ll see as we move forward. I know Roger his staff are getting their hands around it. . . . I think at the end of the day we’re gonna have something here that’s in the best interest for the players. All the things that you’re speaking of are going to be taken into account. As we move forward we’ll have a much better feel for how this is gonna work.”
Having Smith and Gregory back would be a real opportunity for the Cowboys to improve their pass rush. Both players have the talent, the question is how well they will play after extensive layoffs, especially for Smith.