Randy Gregory

Extra Points: Bell, Gregory, Raiders, Carr

With just less than four weeks remaining until the trade deadline, Le’Veon Bell-to-the-Eagles has surfaced on the rumor circuit. The Eagles are reportedly giving serious consideration to making a run at the likely rental running back. But SI.com’s Albert Breer isn’t so sure that’s going to happen. The Eagles don’t see running back as a spot to sink major resources into, per Breer. Bell’s approximately $10MM salary would qualify as a major investment, although that’s dropping by the week because of this unusual holdout. Philadelphia has just less than $5MM in cap room, and Breer notes the improving health of its running backs should help them steer clear of these interesting Bell sweepstakes. Corey Clement and Darren Sproles have yet to return to practice, and Jay Ajayi is playing with a back fracture. The Eagles traded a fourth-rounder for Ajayi before the 2017 trade deadline. Bell as of now plans to report to the Steelers during their Week 7 bye.

Here’s the latest from around the league as Week 5’s first game continues:

  • Randy Gregory‘s reinstatement conditions caused him to miss the Cowboys‘ Thursday practice. The defensive end was in Chicago meeting with medical director of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). He most recently attended this type of summit during the preseason. The NFL reinstated Gregory this summer after his extensive substance-abuse-induced hiatus. His status for Week 5 doesn’t appear to be in question. Gregory’s played 64 snaps this season.
  • Jimmy Smith‘s return to action this week doesn’t appear to mean Brandon Carr will be bumped from first-string duties. The 11th-year cornerback has started 164 straight games (and every game he’s played as an NFLer), and Ravens DC Wink Martindale doesn’t plan on stopping that run, Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com notes. Smith is eligible to return after a four-game suspension. Carr, Marlon Humphrey and slot man Tavon Young have worked as Baltimore’s top three corners this season. Smith was thriving prior to his season-ending injury last year, so it should be expected he’ll play a big role soon, even if he doesn’t start immediately. Carr’s 164-game start streak resides as the longest among defensive players by 28 games.
  • While Jon Gruden wanted to take Derwin James in the first round, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required) the Raiders weren’t doing anything except taking a tackle in Round 1. However, if Kolton Miller was gone at No. 15 — where the Raiders dropped to after dealing the No. 10 selection to the Cardinals — Tafur notes they were going to take James or trade down further.
  • The Dolphins were projected to be among the teams examining the crop of potential first-round quarterbacks, but their 3-1 start could change that. Early in the mock process, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has the Dolphins taking Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen, a player whom multiple area scouts have rising into the first round after a strong start to the season. As for where Miller projects the QBs to fall in Round 1, he has the Giants taking Oregon’s Justin Herbert and No. 5, the Patriots grabbing Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham at No. 17 (though, that draft slot seems certain to drop) and the Bengals selecting Missouri’s Drew Lock at 28.

Cowboys Notes: Irving, Gregory, Su’a-Filo

Suspended defensive tackle David Irving is back in the Cowboys’ facility, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Irving was banned four games under the NFL’s substance abuse policy, so he’s allowed to be with the club for workouts and meetings, but not practices. Conversely, Irving wasn’t granted any access with Dallas when he was suspended for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2017. After posting seven sacks in only eight games last season, Irving wasn’t present for Cowboys training camp as he dealt with personal issues. He’s scheduled to return to the field in Week 5 when the Cowboys face the Texans on the road.

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones pushed back on recent reports that defensive end Randy Gregory could be facing yet another substance abuse suspension, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “I don’t think these reports have any substance at all, if you really want to know the truth about it,” Jones said Tuesday. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported earlier this week that Gregory had suffered a relapse in August and could be banned from the league again, but the NFL has yet to make any formal announcement to that effect. Gregory, of course, has missed 30 of the Cowboys’ past 32 regular season games, including the entire 2017 season, as a result of his violations.
  • Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo‘s deal with the Cowboys is actually a two-year pact and contains a $50K signing bonus, tweets Archer. The fact that Dallas gave Su’a-Filo a multi-year deal could be an indication the club is relatively high on the former second-round pick, and may believe he can factor into its 2019 plans. Su’a-Filo likely received league minimum base salaries, but his contract won’t be classified as a minimum salary benefit deal given that it covers multiple years. Now 27 years old, Su’a-Filo gives the Cowboys a bit of interior offensive line depth as they wait for center Travis Frederick to return.
  • Speaking of Frederick, he reportedly continues to experience numbness in both arms as he deals with the effects of Guillain Barre syndrome, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to get back on the field.

Randy Gregory Suffered Relapse, Could Be Suspended

Less than two months after being reinstated by the NFL, Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory may be facing yet another suspension for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. Schefter says that Gregory suffered a relapse in August, and while he will play in his first regular-season game since 2016 today, his return to the NFL could be short-lived.

The team had thought the NFL would have made its decision as to potential discipline for Gregory last week, but Schefter says the league is still studying the case and deciding how much weight to give to the steps that Gregory has taken since his relapse. As Schefter notes, the league has softened its stance on players who run afoul of the drug policy and has begun to prioritize treatment and support over discipline.

Nonetheless, as Gregory is a repeat offender, he may be unable to escape another ban. He has missed 30 of the past 32 regular-season games, including the entire 2017 season, as a result of his violations.

Gregory, a Nebraska product, has a ton of talent as a pass rusher but has not been able to stay on the field long enough to live up to his promise. After being selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2015 draft — and he only made it to the second round because of character concerns — Gregory has only played in 14 games and has one sack to his credit.

However, he was working with the first team in recent weeks and may even start today, which makes this setback even more unfortunate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Cardinals, Easley

Tyrone Crawford spent his 2017 season at defensive end, but the veteran Cowboys lineman’s been known to move around. The team is asking him to do so again. The Cowboys are shifting Crawford back to defensive tackle, a role he mostly played from 2014-15 before being largely stationed at end the past two seasons. Injuries to inside players, David Irving‘s suspension and the team having amassed more depth at end prompted the move, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes. Crawford’s working as a starter alongside nose tackle Antwaun Woods.

This move has opened the door for an interesting setup at end. Hill adds Randy Gregory is now working with the first team across from DeMarcus Lawrence. Recently fully reinstated, Gregory has never started an NFL game and has only played in two contests since the 2015 season. Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong are serving as Dallas’ backup ends presently, per Hill. While it’s not a lock Gregory will be a starter in Week 1, it could well be headed that way. Irving’s return from suspension would give the Cowboys the kind of depth they haven’t possessed up front in years.

Here’s the latest from Dallas, along with a couple of other NFC cities as these teams prepare for their dress-rehearsal preseason games.

  • The most likely scenario for Travis Frederick is a stay on injured reserve to start the season, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News writes. He would then be eligible to return for the final eight games of the season, in the event he’s able to do so. The Cowboys are not ready to concede that their All-Pro center will be IR-bound yet, and Moore adds they’re likely unwilling to face the reality Frederick likely won’t be at his best if/when he does return in 2018. Joe Looney is now Dallas’ starting center, and the Cowboys will need to determine soon if they are going to look for outside help at the position. There isn’t much center help of note available, however.
  • A defensive lineman throughout his career, Dominique Easley is now working as a standup outside linebacker for the Rams. Wade Phillips confirmed the move, one made shortly after the team activated the fifth-year defender off the PUP list Monday. This doesn’t look to be an experiment, either. “I think this gives him a little more freedom to utilize his abilities. We even played Mario Williams at outside ‘backer,” Phillips said, via Rams.com, of his former Houston pupil. “(Easley is) is a real strong player can play that position and, again, not have as much wear and tear.” Easley’s suffered three ACL tears, the most recent shelving him last season. The former first-round pick’s move to outside linebacker also adds a higher-profile player to a Rams position group that doesn’t feature many big names.
  • A.Q. Shipley‘s Cardinals extension won’t include much new money. The veteran center can make $2MM in 2019, including incentives, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Shipley’s making $1.5MM in base salary this season. These figures are fairly modest for a player who’s started all 32 Cards games since the beginning of the 2016 season, but Shipley will be 33 next year and just tore an ACL.

NFL Fully Reinstates Randy Gregory

Given conditional reinstatement last week, Randy Gregory will now be able to practice with the Cowboys at training camp as he attempts a comeback.

The NFL fully reinstated the embattled defensive end on Monday, Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk reports. He’s cleared to practice and play in games, furthering a comeback he didn’t previously believe was possible.

Dallas also has Gregory signed through the 2020 season. Under normal circumstances, Gregory would be entering a contract year since he was a 2015 draft pick. But due to multiple seasons of contract tolling, the Nebraska alum is signed for three more years.

While it’s uncertain if the former second-round pick can make good on this opportunity, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets the NFL liked Gregory’s plan and green-lit a full-scale return to action. The 25-year-old edge defender, suspended indefinitely due to multiple substance-abuse violations, worked a 9-5 job at times this offseason in Dallas but continued to train heavily for a possible comeback.

Gregory has not played since the 2016 regular-season finale and hasn’t played more than two games in a season since his rookie year. He’ll join a mix of pass rushers headlined by DeMarcus Lawrence but also including longtime Cowboy Tyrone Crawford and 2017 first-rounder Taco Charlton. Gregory, though, has a long way to go to make good on his draft status. He has just one sack in 14 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Gregory, Cowboys, Browns, Jets

In a recent feature, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic took a look at the recently re-instated Randy Gregory‘s long road back to the NFL. On Tuesday, Gregory was allowed back into the league on a conditional basis by the league office. The 2015 second-round pick of the Cowboys has played in just two games since his rookie season due to multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Gregory is now reportedly sober and focused on making a return to Dallas. He’s only 25, and the Cowboys could certainly use extra pass-rushing help. Watkins’ article details how Gregory got a regular 9-to-5 job at a Dallas-based business in order to prove he could get his life together. He partnered with attorney Daniel Moskowitz, and continued working out heavily during his extended exile. According to Watkins, Gregory “was in shock” when the league re-instated him, as he didn’t believe he would ever actually make it back. It’s been a tough journey, but it certainly sounds like the former Nebraska standout is ready to make the most of his second chance.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Browns have already made a series of high-profile acquisitions this offseason, but they may not yet be done adding to the team. GM John Dorsey “loves to be aggressive” and may look to make a move or two in the coming weeks, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. Ulrich notes Cleveland “could use pass-rush help” and that he wouldn’t rule out the team adding a veteran defensive tackle or free safety.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com took a stab at projecting the Jets initial 53-man roster, and had a few interesting predictions. Notably, he predicts the Jets will end up keeping all three of Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, and Teddy Bridgewater. He also thinks notable players like running back Thomas Rawls, tight end Clive Walford, and wide receiver Charone Peake will end up getting cut.
  • In case you missed it, here’s the latest on Raiders star Khalil Mack and the negotiations between the two sides as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

 

Extra Points: Cardinals, Cooks, Gregory, Manhertz, McCluster

Larry Fitzgerald will be back for a 15th season in Arizona, and the long-time Cardinals wideout is set to hit free agency next offseason. Of course, the future Hall of Famer can’t envision himself playing elsewhere, as he essentially told Jace Frederick of TwinCities.com that he’d hang up his cleats if he wasn’t retained by Arizona.

“If I’m not playing in Arizona, I won’t be playing anywhere,” he said. “I’ve built a good life for myself down there. Playing in the same place for 15 years is a true blessing.”

Fitzgerald is one of only two players (along with Antonio Brown) to compile 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards over the past three seasons. Despite turning 35 years old this fall, Fitzgerald says he isn’t slowing down.

“It doesn’t really matter about the age, it’s about what you put into it and your mind-set,” he said. “Everybody kind of takes numbers and assumes this is when it’s supposed to end. As an athlete, fortunately, you write your own script. If you still produce and you play at a high level, you kind of determine how long you want to play. If I can stay at a high level, I still keep destiny in my own hands.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • We learned earlier today that wideout Brandin Cooks had inked a five-year, $80MM extension with the Rams. NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora tweets that the new deal contains $20.5MM in guaranteed money and a $50.5MM injury guarantee. NFL.com’s Albert Breer clarifies (via Twitter) that the deal will actually total $81MM, with the $16.2MM average annual value trailing only Brown, Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins.
  • Cardinals general manager Steve Keim pleaded guilty today to extreme DUI, and the Cardinals subsequently fined and suspended the executive. Kent Somers of AZCentral tweets that there won’t be an interim general manager during Keim’s absence, as the team will ultimately divide his responsibilities. Terry McDonough will likely handle the “evaluation side,” while Mike Disner will focus on contracts and the cap. Somer adds that Keim won’t face further discipline from the NFL.
  • Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that Keim’s suspension “doesn’t preclude” the Cardinals from working out a long-term deal with running back David Johnson, echoing that Disner would likely negotiate the contract. The Pro Bowler skipped mandatory minicamp last month as he looks for a raise on his $1.8MM base salary.
  • Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. The 26-year-old underwent offseason surgery after suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot. The team is hopeful that Greg Olsen‘s primary backup will be ready for the start of the regular season. As Person points out, Manhertz’s absence will provide fourth-rounder Ian Thomas with an opportunity to contribute during training camp.
  • Earlier today, the NFL reinstated Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory on a conditional basis. Naturally, after appearing in only two games over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old is excited about the prospect of returning to the NFL. “I’m very excited,” Gregory said (via the Dallas News’ Jon Machota on Twitter). “Thanks to the ones who supported me and stood by me. It’s a lot more to the story than it seems and it took me a lot to get to this point. Now I’m ready to make some plays.”
  • Former NFL running back Dexter McCluster has caught on with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL (via CFL.ca). The 29-year-old played in six games with the Chargers during the 2016 season. During his four years with the Chiefs, McCluster compiled 662 rush yards, 1,500 receiving yards, and more than 2,000 return yards.

Cowboys Have Randy Gregory Through 2020

When the Cowboys drafted Randy Gregory in 2015, his four-year rookie deal had him on course for free agency after the 2019 season. However, thanks to multiple suspensions, Gregory will be under club control for longer. 

[RELATED: NFL Reinstates Cowboys’ Randy Gregory]

Gregory’s deal with the Cowboys now runs though 2020, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. Gregory, who was reinstated on Tuesday, will have his first opportunity to test the open market at the age of 27.

The Nebraska product was a highly-touted prospect heading into the 2015 draft, but he has compiled 15 tackles and one sack thus far in a suspension-riddled career. The length of Gregory’s contract won’t have much meaning to the Cowboys or any other team in the league unless he can perform at a high level in 2018 and stay on the right path.

The Cowboys will start DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford at defensive end, but Gregory could see time as a reserve along with Richard Ash and Jihad Ward. The Cowboys’ season kicks off on Sept. 9 against the Panthers.

In other Cowboys news, Lawrence reportedly does not want to play on a second franchise tag in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys’ Randy Gregory Reinstated

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has been reinstated on a conditional basis, according to an announcement from the NFL. Gregory will be permitted to be with the team in training camp. After that, he’ll be able to take part in regular season practices and games if he continues to be in compliance with the NFL’s substance abuse policy. 

This marks a massive victory for Gregory, who was previously banished from the NFL. Most banished players do not earn the right to return, but Gregory has been welcomed back after going through therapy and getting clean.

The former second-round pick will be in Stage 3 of the league substance abuse program for the next two years, which means that he will be subject to frequent random testing. He’s more or less in a zero-tolerance zone at this point, so a failed or missed test could be a career-ender.

The Cowboys would love for Gregory to be a contributor right away in his return. David Irving is suspended for the first four games of the season and fellow defensive tackle Maliek Collins isn’t a lock to return for the Cowboys‘ Week 1 contest. Gregory could give the Cowboys some much-needed defensive line support off of the bench, which could help to offset their early-season losses on the interior.

Gregory was a highly-touted prospect heading into the 2015 draft, but a failed marijuana test caused his draft stock to fall. In 14 career games, the defensive end has compiled 15 tackles and one sack. The Cowboys will hope for the best when it comes to Gregory, but it’s not exactly clear what kind of player he can be for them.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Cowboys, Gregory, Jets

The Cowboys are hoping to learn about the fate of Randy Gregory around the start of training camp, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. Gregory recently met with NFL officials in New York, but things have been quiet on that front over the last couple of weeks.

Dallas could use some clarity on the makeup of its defensive line, particularly as David Irving faces a four-game suspension for a violation of the substance abuse policy. It’s highly unlikely that Gregory would be plugged into the starting lineup, but he would be a useful reserve behind starters DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford if he is allowed to play.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • The Redskins won’t necessarily miss wide receiver Terrelle Pryor after his disappointing 2017 season, but they will have to make up for the departure of Ryan Grant. Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington believes that newcomer Paul Richardson can easily top Pryor’s 240 receiving yards, but exceeding Grant’s 573 yards receiving may be a challenge. Ultimately, he expects one of the team’s backup wide receivers to step up while Josh Doctson improves across the board. All in all, he anticipates a wide receiver group that is somewhat more productive than last year, even as they catch passes from a new quarterback.
  • This is a make or break year for Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. Beachum has two years to go on the three-year, $24MM deal he inked in 2017, but the Jets can cut him after this season and save $8MM in cap space versus just $1.5MM in dead money. If he wants to stick in New Jersey, he’ll have to step his game up. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked Beachum as its 35th best tackle. He did well in pass protection (18th), but he placed just 71st in run blocking.
  • Will Giants running back Saquon Barkley make the biggest impact of any top ten pick this year? Click here to cast your vote.