The new NFL year officially begins tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST, but free agency is already on and popping with many big moves, trades, and releases being confirmed. When you woke up this morning, you may have heard that the Dallas Cowboys had retained the services of defensive end Randy Gregory, agreeing to a long-term extension. Well, just hours later, news broke that Gregory flipped the script on Jerry Jones and decided to take his talents to the Mile High City Denver.
Jones is an owner that loves to take care of players he’s drafted and makes it a point to re-sign them. He likes to keep his guys in the Cowboy family, so Gregory switching up like this at the last minute has got to hurt. And it’s not like the deal he’s accepted from the Broncos isn’t much different from what the Cowboys offered. It’s a five-year deal worth $70 million with $28 million guaranteed. And most of that guarantee will come over the first two years of the contract.
The fallout that is sure to follow this story should be interesting. The Cowboys have stood behind Gregory through all of his issues with drugs and several suspensions since he was drafted in 2015. I’m not saying he necessarily owed them anything because the NFL and professional football are a business, but it’s the way it went down. Gregory reportedly was all set to stay in Big D, then of course, we know what happened from there. Free agency is looking like the wild wild West out here right now.
Apparently, some type of “behavioral clause” was inserted into the deal, which led to Gregory deciding to leave Dallas. Dem’ Boys just lost a tremendous edge rusher. And those are highly coveted in today’s pass-happy NFL. Losing Gregory will likely mean a shift in free agency and draft strategy for Dallas. Gregory recorded six sacks in 12 games last season. Now the Cowboys need to replace his production and his presence in the lineup.
We’ll see how Jerry bounces back from this because the Cowboys took a big ‘L’ here. Whether that behavior clause was the straw that broke the camel’s back or not, Jones must now must go shopping for a player to line up opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence on the D-Line. Luckily for Jones, this happened at the beginning of the free-agent signing period, so some pretty good options are still in play for Dallas. Chandler Jones is out there, Von Miller is available even though he’s Tweeting about Denver (and they just added Gregory), and even Jadeveon Clowney remains an option for the Cowboys. Hopefully, Jerry and the Cowboys don’t fumble the next routine handoff.