The next big event for the Dallas Cowboys, now that they crashed out of the playoffs, will be free agency. The team has plenty of free agents that they will have to make decisions about and one of them is defensive end Randy Gregory. There are plenty of variables to consider when deciding whether to re-sign him, and now they can add another to the mix. Gregory will undergo knee surgery.
There is no specificity in the report as to what is exactly bothering Gregory, but in the season-finale against the Philadelphia Eagles he was noticeably laboring in that game. The sources do say that he should be ready for next season. Whatever the knee injury actually is, it did not keep Gregory out of any contests in the 2021 season, but he did miss time with a calf injury.
The Cowboys showed a lot of dedication to, and support for, Gregory as he worked out his addiction struggles and missed a lot of playing time during his years with the team. He has been re-signed to contracts before, but this is the first time Gregory has played a season free of suspensions and issues off-the-field. It’s fair to wonder how he will balance his appreciation for what the Cowboys have done for him with his desire to finally cash in on a big contract. The Cowboys are not flush with cash at the moment and will have to make some hard decisions.
Dallas will have DeMarcus Lawrence back, and they also have an in-house replacement option if they want to take it. Micah Parsons was a revelation as a pass rusher, and the value of that type of player over an off-the-ball linebacker is part of the equation. It has been noted repeatedly that Parsons was among the best pass rushers in the league even though he did it with significantly fewer reps than others. There is a reasonable argument that moving him to defensive end permanently could be a positive move for the team.
The team will also have to decide about backup Dorance Armstrong at the position, a player who is valuable as a rotation piece but has never looked ready to be the starter. Gregory is certainly a player the Cowboys would like to have back, but given his crazy athletic talents, his relatively low usage for someone his age, and the position he plays, he could be a sought-after player on the free agent market. Dallas might have a hard time keeping him.