To say Randy Gregory has had an up-and-down professional career since entering the NFL would be an understatement. Multiple suspensions and a few injuries has kept him from turning into the type of player the Dallas Cowboys were envisioning when they drafted him in the second round in 2015, but despite that there are high expectations for him entering 2021.
Talent has never been a question for Gregory. If not for a failed drug test prior to the 2015 NFL Draft he likely would’ve been a Top 10 selection. That’s been the problem, though. Substance abuse issues has earned him multiple suspensions from the league and sadly stunted his development as a result. To date he has appeared in well under half the games he’s been in the league for.
Unless something unforeseen happens between now and the start of the 2021 season, Gregory should be full-time starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence for the Cowboys this year. Because of that many people are predicting he will be an X-factor for Dallas’ defense, and if that’s true, he could be a hot commodity as a free agent next offseason.
This is a contract year for Gregory, and when asked about a dealing with getting a new contract, he discussed his love for the Cowboys franchise.
“Same way I have always gone about it,” Gregory responded. “I should have already had a new contract. I was still on my rookie contract last year. That is kind of crazy to think about, but I understand it’s a contract year. It’s all about earning everything now. I’m going to do that on the field. Barring injury, I think I will be all right. I love it here. I love the owners. I love the staff. I love the players. When that time comes, we will talk about it. But from where I came from I am not thinking about a damn contract right now before the season starts. I still got a lot to do.”
Gregory may not be thinking about a contract before the season, but the Cowboys should be. The Cowboys will be in a position, once again, where they’re looking to upgrade their pass rush next year, and Gregory will get his first chance to test the open market in free agency. But, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see both parties work out a mutually beneficial extension beforehand.
The Cowboys, should jump on the opportunity to get ahead of the game and lock up Gregory for a few more years on a more team-friendly contract then what he could receive on the open market. That’s just what smart teams do and something the Cowboys could learn to do a better job of.
Contract years have a way of lighting a fire under players, and if that’s indeed what happens with Gregory, he should expect his bank account to increase significantly after he inks a new contract next year. Whether or not that’s with the Cowboys or not remains to be seen.
The Cowboys would be wise to extend Gregory sooner rather than later.