The Dallas Cowboys have always been a team that hasn’t been afraid to take chances on players during owner Jerry Jones’ tenure. Whether on a player with character issues that have impacted his career, or on injury that has caused other teams to back away, the Cowboys have taken their shot plenty of times. There is a player currently on the roster who Jones has put so much effort into helping on and off the field, and that is Randy Gregory. Jones has stood by Gregory during his battle with controlled substances and that dedication to him has started to pay off.
After giving Gregory a contract extension in September of last year, the Cowboys have now positioned Gregory to play himself into a nice payday next offseason. Gregory is in line to have a more prominent role in the Cowboys defense under Dan Quinn. Last season Gregory returned to the field and was able to play in 10 games after his suspension. During that time, Gregory was able to collect 3.5 sacks, 21 tackles, four tackles for loss, but the most impressive might just be his 12 quarterback hits. That number shows that even during his time away from the game, Gregory hasn’t lost a step and if given more playing time could have put up better numbers.
Gregory has expressed his frustration regarding his playing time last season and the Cowboys have come out and said that he will be getting on the field a lot more this season. The departure of Aldon Smith to the Seattle Seahawks is a major factor, but even if he stayed with the Cowboys last season Smith’s play started to decline while Gregory’s did not. The Cowboys look like they have now seen the error of their ways and know how explosive, and effective, Gregory can be when he starts and is given a large number of snaps opposite DeMarcus Lawrence.
With all of the positives that come with Gregory getting back on the field, the Cowboys have to deal with him becoming a free agent at the end of the season. The Cowboys have gone through this drama in the past with Lawrence and their strategy of waiting players out hasn’t really been working for them lately. Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and most recently Dak Prescott have all been able to wait the team out and get the contract they wanted. They can’t let this happen with Gregory, they need to be smart and try to get him under contract early.
They will have money next season to play with as all teams do, but the cost of keeping Gregory now compared to if he has a breakout season in 2021 is an enormous difference. Defensive end is a premier position and commands a lot of money on the open market. There is the risk of Gregory not performing or backsliding with his off-the-field issues, but nothing is ever a sure thing. If the Cowboys beleive in Gregory, if they think he will excel under Dan Quinn, and they believe his off-the-field issues are not going to return, they should sign him to an extension now.
They’ve given him a ton of support over the years, now it’s time to secure him for the future.