Randy Gregory

Buccaneers Sign OLB Randy Gregory

APRIL 4: ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports Gregory’s deal has a base value of $3MM, and it can be worth up to $5MM. Re-establishing himself as a starter with a healthy season would thus help not only Gregory’s 2025 free agent prospects but notably add to his career earnings.

APRIL 3: Randy Gregory will head to a third team in eight months. The Buccaneers are bringing in the veteran edge rusher, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets.

The 49ers used Gregory as a rotational rusher last season, acquiring him from the Broncos before the deadline. The former Cowboys starter will turn 32 later this year. It is a one-year deal for Gregory, per Fox Sports’ Greg Auman. The Bucs have since announced the signing.

Seeking an edge rusher to replace Shaq Barrett, the Bucs are reuniting Gregory with ex-Cowboys assistant George Edwards. The two worked together in Dallas from 2020-21, when Edwards served as a senior defensive assistant. After his Cowboys exit, Edwards joined Todd Bowles‘ staff as outside linebackers coach in 2023. While the Seahawks (who employ ex-Cowboys D-line coach Aden Durde as DC) showed interest, Gregory will link up with another familiar face in Tampa.

Gregory’s market pales in comparison to where it was two years ago. The Broncos gave the former suspension mainstay a five-year, $70MM. While that would have represented good value — based on where the edge rusher market has gone in the 2020s — had Gregory stayed healthy. He did not, missing most of his first Denver season. Upon returning, Gregory fell out of favor with Sean Payton. The Broncos’ new HC was willing to take on almost all of Gregory’s 2023 salary balance to move on, doing so for only a late-round pick swap.

As the Broncos committed to using their younger OLBs, Gregory became a Nick Bosa supporting-caster alongside Chase Young and Clelin Ferrell. The 49ers have retooled on the edge, seeing all three players depart. Gregory stayed healthy last season, totaling 3.5 sacks between his Denver and San Francisco stays. Gregory did not start any games with the 49ers; he played 27 defensive snaps in Super Bowl LVIII.

Still better known for his Cowboys tenure, Gregory has flashed better form in the recent past. He commanded that 2022 offer — one the Broncos made and the Cowboys matched, only to see a contract clause torpedo the deal — Gregory registered six sacks and 17 QB hits in 2021. He did so despite missing five games due to injury. Gregory, who missed extensive time due to a knee injury in 2022, also totaled six sacks in 2018. A suspension knocked him out of the ’19 season.

The fact that Gregory is still playing in the NFL reflects positively on his commitment, as he incurred four substance-abuse suspensions in the 2010s, and the NFL changing its policy toward a more lenient stance on recreational drugs. While he has moved past this chapter of his career, the former second-round pick will need to show he can remain healthy.

Gregory will join a Bucs edge-rushing crew now spearheaded by younger talent, with Barrett — a vital part of the team’s Super Bowl LV-winning season and a former NFL sack king — becoming a cap casualty earlier this year. Barrett signed with the Dolphins soon after. The Bucs still roster Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, 2023 draftee YaYa Diaby and sixth-year rotational cog Anthony Nelson. Diaby, who moved into the starting lineup midway through last season in place of Tryon-Shoyinka, led the 2023 Bucs with 7.5 sacks. It still seems like the Bucs may add another piece on the edge — perhaps in the draft — but they will give Gregory a shot.

Seahawks Interested In Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory finds himself in free agency after failing to live up to the big-money deal he signed with the Broncos in 2022. The veteran edge rusher has at least one known suitor for a potential new deal.

The Seahawks have shown “preliminary interest” in Gregory, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports. The 31-year-old appeared set to extend his Cowboys tenure in 2022 with a five-year, $69.5MM contract being worked out. In the end, though, issues over guarantees led to the deal falling through. He signed with the Broncos under the same terms, leading to substantial expectations for him in Denver.

Gregory played only 10 games with his new team between the 2022 and ’23 campaigns, however. A knee injury left him sidelined for an extended stretch, and when on the field the former second-rounder did not perform as hoped. Gregory totaled three sacks with the Broncos, and early last season he was set to be released. A trade partner was found in the form of the 49ers, though, and he finished the campaign in San Francisco. After serving in a rotational role in the Bay Area, Gregory is now set to move on as a free agent.

Given the nature of his health and performances over the past two years, a ‘prove-it’ deal would be reasonable in Gregory’s case. The Nebraska product would be working with a familiar face if he were to accept a Seattle deal. Aden Durde – now the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator – served as the Cowboys’ defensive line coach when Gregory played in Dallas. A reunion could help the latter regain his previous form, which included six-sack campaigns in 2018 and ’21.

Seattle already has a lucrative investment along the edge in the form of Uchenna Nwosu. The team has also used a second-round pick in consecutive years on outside linebackers (Boye Mafe in 2022, Derick Hall in 2023), meaning a signing amongst the remaining free agents does not need to be high priority. That is especially true given the fact Darrell Taylor was retained on a new pact taking the place of a potential RFA tender. Still, a Gregory deal could allow him to compete for a depth role as he attempts to rebuild his value in another new environment.

Broncos Trade Randy Gregory To 49ers

OCTOBER 7: Providing final details on the picks swapped in the Gregory trade, which is now official, NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco notes that the seventh-round selection the 49ers will receive originally belonged to the Rams. San Francisco, meanwhile, will send its own sixth-rounder back to Denver as the latter team aims to move on from a highly disappointing free agent investment.

OCTOBER 6: The Broncos found a taker for Randy Gregory, who is set to head west. The 49ers agreed to acquire Gregory on Friday, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. Denver had been planning to release the recently demoted edge rusher, but he will catch on in an interesting place.

A pick-swap trade will complete this process. San Francisco is sending a 2024 sixth-rounder to Denver for Gregory and a 2024 seventh, per Pelissero. The 49ers have shown an ability to coax bounce-back offerings from defensive linemen, with Kris Kocurek a highly regarded position coach. They will try this formula with Gregory, who is in the second season of a five-year, $69.5MM contract.

This trade will involve the Broncos paying a portion of Gregory’s $10.89MM in remaining 2023 salary, 9News’ Mike Klis reports. It turns out, the Broncos will pay almost all of Gregory’s salary. Save for the prorated veteran minimum ($840K) that will be on the 49ers to cover, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports the Broncos will be responsible for the rest. The Broncos were ready to eat that money by releasing Gregory, so it makes sense they were fine with making this payment to secure late-round draft compensation.

The team picked up most of Von Miller‘s remaining 2021 salary upon dealing him to the Rams before that year’s deadline. That increased the compensation, with the Rams sending second- and third-round picks for the future Hall of Famer. Signed to help fill the Miller void in Denver months after that trade, Gregory did not live up to expectations. As such, his trade value is much lower.

The 49ers will pick up some flexibility with Gregory, whose contract calls for nonguaranteed salaries from 2024-26. At the time of signing, the Broncos had added the ex-Cowboys second-rounder on a long-term deal that checked in outside the top 20 for edge rusher AAV. Now, the 49ers will take a chance on Gregory. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers view Gregory as a non-rental, seeing as they just signed off on Nick Bosa‘s record-shattering extension, but the team does have an intriguing Bosa sidekick en route.

Gregory, 30, has flashed promising talent. He posted six-sack seasons with the Cowboys in 2018 and 2021, combining for 32 QB hits in those years, but injuries and suspensions have interrupted much of his prime. After a four-suspension run in Dallas — albeit under a CBA that featured harsher penalties for substance abuse — Gregory signed with Denver in 2022. The Cowboys were close to re-signing a player they had stood by despite his rampant unavailability, but contract language led to a snafu, changing both Dallas and Denver’s edge rusher plans. Gregory had been in talks with the Broncos last March but had said he would return to the Cowboys if they matched the terms. The Denver deal went through. Much has changed for the AFC West franchise since the Gregory deal came to pass, however, and the fit did not work out.

Needing shoulder surgery in 2022, Gregory was sidelined until Week 1. The Broncos did see some positive early returns from Gregory last season, when he played opposite Bradley Chubb. But a knee injury led Gregory to IR after Week 4. He did not return until late December and was not in top form upon coming back. Sean Payton hired ex-Broncos HC Vance Joseph as his defensive coordinator, and Gregory ended up benched by Week 4. Calling out Gregory for poor effort in the team’s 70-20 thrashing in Miami, the Broncos used Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper as their starting edge rushers in Chicago.

This pair will hold down the fort for the time being, but the Broncos have free agency pickup Frank Clark and converted ILB Baron Browning nearing returns. The team designated Browning for return from the PUP list Wednesday, and Clark is aiming to come back by Week 5. The pair have rehabbed knee and groin injuries, respectively.

A Bonitto-Cooper-Clark-Browning foursome brings some intrigue for the Broncos, but the team has seen its OLB situation change since Gregory’s injury and the Chubb trade transpired in 2022. Joseph’s return to Denver has not gone smoothly, either; the Broncos rank last in total defense and points allowed. And the Gregory signing will go down as a clear miss for Broncos GM George Paton.

The 49ers let both Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu walk in free agency, saving up for the Bosa extension. The team has used ex-Raiders top-five pick Clelin Ferrell as the starter opposite Bosa, but 2022 second-rounder Drake Jackson is tied for the team lead with three sacks. Gregory joining the 49ers opens the door to a stacked defensive line. Although it is uncertain if the 4-0 team will want Gregory starting or in place as a rotational backup, the prospect of a Bosa-Gregory-Arik ArmsteadJavon Hargrave quartet is now in play.

Kocurek and Bosa led the way in helping Ebukam, Omenihu and Arden Key generate plus work upon arriving in San Francisco. Gregory flashed better pre-Bay Area form compared to that trio, and the Super Bowl contenders will bank on their infrastructure once again. With the Broncos on the hook for most of Gregory’s 2023 money, this qualifies as a flier. The 49ers will gauge the fit before determining Gregory’s post-2023 future.

49ers To Release DE Kerry Hyder

Kerry Hyder will be the odd man out in San Francisco. The 49ers needed to move a player off their 53-man roster to make room for trade acquisition Randy Gregory, and the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman notes Hyder will go.

The well-traveled NFC pass rusher is in his second stint with the 49ers, returning in 2022 after a 2021 Seahawks one-off. Hyder has not seen too much action this season, however, despite the 49ers letting multiple free agent defensive ends walk in March. Hyder has played 59 defensive snaps this season.

[RELATED: 49ers Acquire Gregory From Broncos In Pick-Swap Deal]

While Charles Omenihu and Samson Ebukam left for other opportunities in free agency, respectively signing with the Chiefs and Colts, Hyder came back on a league-minimum deal in April. The 49ers will not be tagged with any dead money by cutting Hyder. This is actually the second time San Francisco has dropped Hyder this year. They released him on roster-cutdown day but brought him back after making IR moves soon after. With Gregory now in the fold, it is uncertain if a path for Hyder to come back exists.

A former Lions UDFA, Hyder spent the 2019 season with the Cowboys before coming to San Francisco. The 49ers observed a breakthrough season from the rotational edge rusher in 2020. A season that featured numerous 49ers injuries saw Nick Bosa shut down with an ACL tear in Week 2. Hyder stayed healthy and totaled 8.5 sacks and 18 QB hits. This led to a midlevel Seahawks contract, but Seattle dropped Hyder after the 2021 season, leading him back to San Francisco.

Hyder, 32, played 36% of the 49ers’ defensive snaps last season. He has one sack this year. It would be logical if Hyder returned to the 49ers’ practice squad as an emergency option of sorts. San Francisco moving him off the roster leaves Bosa, Gregory, Drake Jackson and Clelin Ferrell as its defensive ends.

Kyle Shanahan confirmed Gregory passed his 49ers physical but will not play against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Gregory is staying in Denver this weekend to tie up some loose ends, per Inman, but is expected to return Monday. The 49ers will be on track to have the ex-Cowboys and Broncos edge rusher in uniform against the Browns in Week 6.

Broncos To Release OLB Randy Gregory

4:15pm: When speaking about the Gregory move, Payton said (via the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson) the Broncos are still in the process of trying to find a trade partner. If no deal materializes, the release will go through in the next day or so. Notably, Payton added that Gregory did not, in fact, ask for his release upon learning that the Broncos will turn their attention to younger members of their edge rush group. In any event, he will soon find himself out of the Mile High City.

10:16am: The Broncos are admitting a mistake on Randy Gregory early. After benching the 2022 free agency pickup in Week 4, Denver is moving on. The team is releasing the veteran edge rusher, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

This will tag the Broncos with a big dead-money hit. They had signed Gregory to a five-year, $69.5MM deal in free agency, finalizing a deal after Gregory talks with the Cowboys hit an 11th-hour snag. Denver intends to use its younger pass rushers under Sean Payton. The Broncos have now moved on from Gregory and Bradley Chubb in consecutive years.

Denver moved Gregory to the trade block this week, with 9News’ Mike Klis reporting the team had been trying to unload the talented but unreliable veteran. As a vested vet, Gregory will head straight to free agency. The former Cowboys second-round pick asked for his release Tuesday, per Klis, and Payton will grant the request after no trade buyers emerged.

Gregory, 30, had been a key part of GM George Paton‘s post-Von Miller edge rusher plan. A year after deploying a Chubb-Gregory setup at outside linebacker, the Broncos are rid of both. They dealt Chubb to the Dolphins at last year’s deadline, doing so while Gregory was out with a knee injury. While Gregory showed flashes as a pass rusher, his Broncos tenure featured the undependability his Cowboys run did. Gregory’s Broncos run ends with just three sacks.

The Cowboys thought they had a deal done with Gregory, but the oft-suspended Nebraska alum objected to language inserted into the contract. Denver made the initial Gregory offer in March 2022; the former Dallas starter said he would stay a Cowboy if the team matched the terms. Dallas did, but the disagreement on language led Gregory to Colorado. The Cowboys ended up doing fine after Gregory left, forming a dominant edge-rushing group that includes Dorance Armstrong — who re-signed shortly after Gregory’s defection — along with Dante Fowler and 2022 second-rounder Sam Williams.

Gregory came to Denver on the heels of a shoulder surgery, one that kept him out of training camp last year. A knee injury sidelined Gregory early in his first Broncos campaign, and while he returned late in the year, Gregory’s first season offered little in the way of production. Denver managed to field a top-10 defense largely without Gregory, though its pass rush took a hit after Chubb’s departure. The Broncos benched Gregory after giving up 70 points in Week 3, with the ninth-year veteran’s effort — particularly against the run — leading to the demotion.

While the Broncos remain fairly deep on the edge, two of their cogs here — Baron Browning and Frank Clark — are unavailable. Browning is on Denver’s reserve/PUP list due to an offseason knee injury, while Clark is working his way back from an abductor malady sustained in a recent practice. Browning is eligible to return this week, though it is uncertain if the third-year linebacker will be ready. Clark is hoping to come back for this week’s Jets matchup.

The Broncos benched Gregory for Nik Bonitto, a 2022 second-rounder. He and 2021 seventh-rounder Jonathon Cooper are the Broncos’ starting edges for the time being. The two teamed up on the pivotal Justin Fields fumble-six in Sunday’s comeback win. Bonitto, Denver’s top 2022 draft choice, registered 2.5 sacks against the Bears. The Cooper-Bonitto duo may generate some optimism, but the Broncos have taken a massive step back on defense. Vance Joseph‘s unit ranks last in points and yards allowed, with a historically bad Miami outing sounding alarm bells.

The Gregory chapter represents a misstep on the Broncos’ part. The team had hoped Gregory’s lower-mileage Cowboys run — thanks to four suspensions — would help lead to a late prime period. Instead, Gregory is gone after just 10 games with the team. The Broncos will eat $16.1MM in dead money as a result of the cut. Gregory’s Cowboys form, which produced six-sack seasons in 2018 and 2020, will undoubtedly lead to another chance elsewhere. Though, it is unlikely he will come close to the $14MM-per-year pact the Broncos authorized.

Broncos Not Looking To Be Early Sellers

No team has been a more active seller than the Broncos over the past few years. Denver parted with three of its Super Bowl 50 cornerstones — Demaryius Thomas (2018), Emmanuel Sanders (2019) and Von Miller (2021) — and moved Bradley Chubb last year. The team used the Miller and Chubb picks to form the Russell WilsonSean Payton partnership.

While Wilson is early in the process of bouncing back from a wildly disappointing Broncos debut season, the team started this one 0-3. Denver’s defense, easily its most reliable unit in the years since Peyton Manning‘s retirement, has taken a massive step back. Since 2000, no defense has produced a worst EPA figure since 2000, The Athletic’s Mike Sando notes (subscription required). Even though the Broncos rallied from 21-point deficit to beat the Bears in Week 4, Vance Joseph‘s defense is under a microscope.

Despite this unexpected freefall defensively, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes the Broncos are not looking to build for the future just yet by becoming an early seller. The team’s status as a true seller figures to hinge on how it performs over the next few weeks. Before the Oct. 31 deadline, the Broncos face the Jets, Packers and will check off both their Chiefs matchups — the second of which, the home tilt — coming two days before the deadline.

The Broncos discussed Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton with teams this offseason, holding out for a first-round pick for Jeudy and a second-rounder for Sutton. No such offers emerged, and the homegrown draftees remain Denver’s top two wideouts. While Marvin Mims has been effective when utilized — to the point the second-rounder is the team’s leading receiver (242 yards) — he has only played 27% of the team’s offensive snaps.

Denver also rosters longtime starters in Justin Simmons and Garett Bolles; both would stand to generate interest. No trade rumors have surfaced around these cornerstones, but if the team struggles this month, players outside of Jeudy and Sutton figure to come up for a team that has shown no hesitation in selling. John Elway dealt Thomas and Sanders, but current GM George Paton was at the wheel when the Miller and Chubb trades transpired.

Wilson’s performance will naturally lead the way in determining if the Broncos want to begin collecting assets for 2024 and beyond. Through four games, the scrutinized QB sits third in the NFL in passer rating, second in touchdown passes (nine) and sixth in yards per attempt (7.7). QBR slots the 2022 trade acquisition 19th, however. While the Wilson-Payton rapport has come up many times as a topic, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini notes the duo are “flourishing” early in their relationship. Wilson has made strides in recovering from a poor fit with Nathaniel Hackett, but if the Broncos’ defense cannot get back on track, the team’s post-deadline nucleus might be worse.

One change that came on defense in Week 4 involved Randy Gregory, whom the team benched in Week 4, as Denver7’s Troy Renck observes. Through four games, Pro Football Focus ranks Gregory as a bottom-10 edge defender. Although Denver’s defense as a whole endured one of the worst showings in NFL history, as the Dolphins became the first team since 1966 to score 70 points, Gregory received some punishment in the wake of the rout. The Broncos benched Gregory despite having Baron Browning on their reserve/PUP list. The team gave Gregory a five-year, $70MM deal in 2022 but saw him miss much of last season due to a knee injury. Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper served as the Broncos’ first-string edges in Chicago.

Broncos Place OLB Randy Gregory On IR

The injuries continue to pile up in Denver where the Broncos have added pass rusher Randy Gregory to their lengthy list of players on injured reserve. With the Broncos eliminated from postseason contention, the move brings Gregory’s first year in Denver to an end.

After failing to generate much of a pass rush in 2021, the Broncos ventured out into free agency to bring in Gregory after his initial extension with the Cowboys fell through due to a disagreement over language about bonuses being affected by fines or suspensions in the contract. Instead, the 30-year-old pass rusher signed a five-year, $70MM contract to join the Broncos. His first year in Denver would be a bit of a disappointment, though, as knee injuries would limit Gregory to only six games. Starting three of those games, Gregory was able to compile two sacks, two tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. Outside linebackers Bradley Chubb and Baron Browning held higher roles on the depth chart until Chubb was eventually traded to Miami.

Despite the disappointing debut in Mile High, Gregory will have next year to rebound and prove his worth to the Broncos. If similar absences due to injury or suspension continue into 2023, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find Gregory as the subject of one of our posts detailing a potential salary cap casualty.

The Broncos also signed practice squad outside linebacker Jonathan Kongbo to the active roster today. Kongbo’s addition becomes even more crucial with Gregory on IR and Browning questionable this weekend with a back injury. Practice squad cornerback Lamar Jackson was also signed to the team’s active roster, providing depth as the team’s fifth corner.

Additionally, the Broncos promoted linebackers Wyatt Ray and Ray Wilborn from the practice squad as standard gameday elevations for Sunday’s matchup in Kansas City.

Broncos HC Fallout: Penner, Paton, Payton, Hackett, Evero, Rosburg, Rypien, Risner

George Paton‘s status with the Broncos has taken some hits this week. Although the second-year GM is set to remain in his post, it appears the decisions to hire Nathaniel Hackett and trade for Russell Wilson have cost him.

New Broncos CEO Greg Penner is set to play a major role in the team’s next HC hire, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. With the Broncos still in the process of putting the team up for sale when they conducted the search that produced Hackett, Paton led the hiring process. Penner said he will rely on Paton during the team’s latest hiring effort, but with it being the new ownership’s first HC search, it should be expected the GM will not have final say.

Paton’s situation reminds somewhat of Joe Douglas‘ with the Jets, though the former has not been on the job as long. Douglas has rebuilt the Jets’ defense to the point the team is a playoff contender, and this year’s draft class has helped the team considerably. But the Zach Wilson investment has gone south fast. Paton passed on Justin Fields for burgeoning star cornerback Patrick Surtain II and landed high-end starters Javonte Williams and Quinn Meinerz in Rounds 2 and 3, while also adding outside linebacker Baron Browning on Day 2 of last year’s draft. Denver collected first- and fourth-round picks for Bradley Chubb at this year’s deadline, helping to fill the draft-capital void created by the Wilson trade. While several of Paton’s moves have worked out, the Wilson-Hackett partnership undercut them and has the former Vikings lieutenant on thinner ice.

It is not known if Paton or ownership pushed to have Wilson signed long-term before this season. Conversations ramped up once Penner arrived along with Rob Walton, and the team wanted to avoid waiting until 2023 to extend the QB. But the five-year, $245MM extension is off to a shockingly poor start. Penner announcing that the next HC will report to him and not Paton strips the latter’s power to the point Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk posits the next Broncos coach will have the chance to run the football operation. Paton, 52, has held that role since arriving last year.

The Broncos have experienced ups and downs with a coach running the show, going from Mike Shanahan in this role to the overmatched Josh McDaniels, who held de facto GM power upon being hired in 2009. Considering new ownership’s deep pockets and a potential offer to run football operations, the Broncos would present an intriguing opportunity for an experienced head coach. That is believed to be the direction Denver heads this time, after seeing first-time hires Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio and Hackett underwhelm.

I’ve worked with a lot of great CEOs, and it starts with really strong leadership,” Penner said. “I think that’s going to be the most critical factor here in a head coach. Obviously the X’s and O’s are important, but we need a strong leader for this organization that’s focused on winning. That starts with culture, it’s instilling a sense of accountability, discipline, and we need an identity on offense. At the starting point, it’s got to be about culture and leadership, and those characteristics are what we’ve focused on the most.”

Frank Reich, Jim Harbaugh, Dan Quinn and Sean Payton are believed to be on the early radar. The Broncos could make a strong run at Payton, Fowler adds, though it is not certain the former Saints HC is interested. Harbaugh has a relationship with Broncos consultant John Elway, who ran the team’s football ops for 10 years, and minority owner Condoleezza Rice due to each’s Stanford ties. Rice worked with Harbaugh during his time with the Cardinal, per Florio, adding an interesting wrinkle to the upcoming search.

As for the team’s current setup, interim HC Jerry Rosburg said (via 9News’ Mike Klis, on Twitter) DC Ejiro Evero declined the chance to be the interim option out of loyalty to Hackett. Evero and Hackett have been friends since they were college teammates at UC-Davis. The league has also shifted away from promoting interim coaches, with Doug Marrone being the most recent such hire back in 2017. The Broncos still want to interview Evero, though the first-time DC does not profile as an experienced candidate.

Rosburg, 67, also said (via ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, on Twitter) it was his decision to fire special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry. Both were Hackett hires. Rosburg also confirmed it was Paton, not Hackett, who brought him out of retirement to be the team’s game management assistant. Hackett’s run of issues during the season’s first two weeks led to the hire. The sideline confrontation between Brett Rypien and Dalton Risner also contributed to the early Hackett dismissal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link), as it was a sign the first-year coach was losing the team. Penner said off-field matters led to the early firing. Randy Gregory, who threw a punch at Rams offensive lineman Oday Aboushi and faced a suspension, cited Hackett’s tenuous status as HC in his successful appeal to the league, Klis tweets.

Gregory, Aboushi Successfully Appeal Suspensions; Discipline Reduced To Fines

DECEMBER 27, 9:04pm: Appeals officers Derrick Brooks and James Thrash, both of whom were appointed jointly by the NFL and NFLPA, have reportedly assessed the appeal and reduced the discipline to both Gregory and Aboushi, according to NFL senior vice president of football & international communications Michael Signora. Both one-game suspensions have been reduced to fines of $50,000 for Gregory and $12,000 for Aboushi.

DECEMBER 27, 8:57am: Gregory is appealing the suspension, as noted (on Twitter) by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The 30-year-old issued a statement which reads in part, “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize for my actions yesterday. The game was full of emotion and disappointment, and was not a reflection of my character. My goal is to finish out the season strong, play with pride and be part of the solution and not the problem going forward.”

DECEMBER 26: Sunday marked a new rock bottom for the Broncos in terms of on-field performance, but their loss to the Rams also saw an altercation take place after the game between Denver edge rusher Randy Gregory and Los Angeles offensive lineman Oday Aboushi (video link). It has resulted in discipline from the league.

The NFL announced on Monday that both players have been issued a one-game suspension for their actions, which included each one punching the other. Gregory openly admitted as much during his brief postgame remarks made after Denver’s blowout loss – a result which has led to head coach Nathaniel Hackett being fired with two games remaining in his first season in the role.

In a letter sent to both players, NFL VP of football operations Jon Runyan wrote, “As you were walking toward a group of teammates, coaches, and media, you both stopped and swung at each other’s head and/or neck. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”

Gregory played just 11 defensive snaps in the game, but drew a pair of flags for unsportsmanlike conduct, including one for a roughing the passer penalty. That could leave him in danger of further fines, in addition to the $57K in salary which he will lose assuming the ban is upheld.

Both players have the option to appeal their suspension, but each of their respective teams have long been out of playoff contention. With two weeks left in what has been a lost campaign for the Broncos and Rams, their absence or return will ultimately have little impact on the final contests of the 2022 season. Gregory is under contract through 2026 after he signed a $70MM deal this offseason, while Aboushi is a pending free agent who is playing on the veteran salary benefit this year.

Broncos Activate OLB Randy Gregory, RT Billy Turner

Week 15 will mark the return date for one key Broncos player on each side of the ball. The team announced on Saturday that edge rusher Randy Gregory and right tackle Billy Turner have been activated from IR.

[RELATED: Broncos Place Dre’Mont Jones On IR]

The move comes as little surprise, since the pair were designated for return earlier this week. That opened up their respective 21-day windows to be activated, and will allow them to play a role in the closing stages of what has been a lost season in the Mile High City.

Gregory’s arrival in Denver was a main talking point in the offseason, after he signed with the Broncos on a five-year, $70MM deal. That, in turn, came after a contract of identical length and value which would have kept him with the Cowboys fell through, something which greatly affected his former team’s outlook on the position during the spring. He was able to get healthy in time for the beginning of his first campaign with the Broncos.

That stretch lasted less than four full games, however, as the 30-year-old suffered a knee injury against the Raiders in early October. He has been sidelined ever since, interrupting what had been a promising start to his Broncos career; Gregory notched two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in the early portion of the season. The team’s defense has remained elite in several categories in his absence, though a return to the form he showed in the fall would provide a significant boost to a Denver edge rush which ranks mid-pack in sacks and no longer includes Bradley Chubb.

Turner, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury of his own in November, and was expected to miss considerable time as a result of it. His absence further compounded the myriad injuries Denver has dealt with along the offensive line in general, and the right tackle position in particular. Cameron Fleming has occupied that spot in Turner’s absence, and head coach Nathaniel Hackett said yesterday that a decision has not been made whether it will be he or Calvin Anderson manning the blindside with Turner back in his familiar RT role. A pending free agent, the latter would be well-suited to have a healthy and effective close to the season.