The Dallas Cowboys lost out on Randy Gregory. In a surprise twist to what has already been a drama-filled offseason, the veteran edge rusher agreed to sign with the Denver Broncos despite being all set to re-sign with the Cowboys. Unfortunately, the Cowboys had language in the contract that could lead to the possibility of voided guaranteed money in the event he was hit with fines or suspensions pertaining to the league’s substance-abuse policy. Despite having such an extensive history with this very thing, Gregory found the clause objectionable, and the lack of trust he felt from the Cowboys front office ended up being a deal-breaker.
Well, that was unfortunate.
Needless to say, Gregory is on his way to the Mile High City. This marks the second time Cowboys fans will have to watch no. 94 leave Dallas and don a Broncos jersey. In 2014, the Cowboys released DeMarcus Ware as a cap casualty. Ware signed with the Broncos the very next day where he played three seasons in Denver.
While Ware moving on was the Cowboys' decision, Gregory took matters into his own hands, but the Broncos were right there to capitalize. Strangely, Denver has had a knack for jumping in front of Dallas in recent years to steal players the Cowboys were heavily interested in.
Rabblerousr and I discussed this idea and more on the latest episode of The Star Seminar on the Blogging The Boys podcast network with special guest OCC! Make sure to subscribe to our podcast network so you don’t miss any of our episodes. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
You might remember that the Cowboys were super close to trading up in the 2016 NFL Draft to acquire Paxton Lynch. Luckily for the Cowboys, the Broncos were willing to offer more to Seattle and they got their man. The Cowboys had to settle for Dak Prescott who they selected in the fourth round. What a fortunate turn of events that was.
Then, during last year’s draft, the Broncos drafted cornerback Patrick Surtain II with the ninth overall pick, the pick right before Dallas. Surtain would have been the Cowboys' pick had Denver not taken him, even though it was later said by the Cowboys front office that they had Micah Parsons higher on their board. The Broncos snagging Surtain forced the Cowboys to select the better player, and we all know how that has turned out so far.
Twice the Broncos have snuck in and “stole” a player from Dallas, and both times the Cowboys have hit the jackpot. But how are things going to play out with this latest ordeal with Gregory? We really won’t know right away, but could this again be another blessing in disguise for the Cowboys?
For starters, $70 million is a lot of money. That’s not to suggest Gregory won’t be worth $14 per year (more than what the Cowboys are paying for DeMarcus Lawrence now), but he has yet to be. Since entering the league in 2015, Gregory only made one start in six years. Granted, two and a half of those were interrupted by suspensions, but there were still a lot of opportunities for Gregory to break out. This past season was Gregory’s best performance as a pro, but most of his damage came early as he only recorded one sack after Week 7. He’s never eclipsed six sacks in any year he’s been in the league.
Stats aside, we know how disruptive he can be. Make no mistake about it, Gregory looked like a beast at times last season. He has such a great combination of bend and power to where he can give tackles fits and that is why he’s cashed in on a big contract. That said, he has yet to show anyone that he can put together a strong full season. He turns 30 years old later in the year and is coming off knee surgery back in January. While those factors don’t bring about a great concern, it’s still really hard to project his career going forward.
The same is not true for another player on the roster. Not only did the Cowboys catch a break in drafting Parsons, but due to some injuries to their defensive ends, they learned he can be a phenomenal edge rusher. Despite not getting a high volume of pass-rushing reps, Parsons racked up 13 sacks on the year. It certainly wasn’t the plan when they drafted him, but the Cowboys may have very easily found their next star edge rusher. And it’s worth noting that Parsons’ best moments last season came when Gregory missed time with a calf injury.
Randy Gregory missed five games last season. Micah Parsons had a sack in EVERY one of them and seven sacks total in those games.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) March 16, 2022
In fact, Parsons had MORE sacks in just those five games than he did in all 12 of the games that Gregory played.
Would we love to have Gregory on this roster? Absolutely. But those carrots are cooked and with the Cowboys not making any real push to bring in a sure-fire replacement for him, this likely means more opportunities for Parsons to pin his ears back and attack.