Randy Gregory

This Date In Transactions History: Cowboys Sign Randy Gregory

Four years ago today, the Cowboys inked Randy Gregory to his first NFL contract. After taking a gamble on the Nebraska edge rusher in the second round of the 2015 draft, the Cowboys were optimistic about his potential at the pro level. 

Gregory was viewed as a probable top-10 pick based on talent alone, but a failed drug test at the combine and potential mental health concerns caused him to drop into the second round. Had Gregory been a top-10 selection, he would’ve been assured of a four-year contract worth upwards of $14MM fully guaranteed, with a signing bonus of more than $8MM. After falling to No. 60, he landed a four-year pact worth $3.815MM, with a signing bonus of about $1.035MM.

Despite those off-field concerns, PFR readers were surprised not to see Gregory come off the board in round one — heading into the second round, he edged Landon Collins as the most surprising non-first-round pick in our poll. Unfortunately, Gregory’s demons derailed his career early on.

In February 2016, Gregory was hit with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. That same year, Gregory went on to fail a second drug test, resulting in an additional ten-game ban. Months later, we learned that Gregory had failed a third drug test, but the league did not immediately institute the ban. That gap allowed Gregory to play in the final two games of the regular season, though he was barred from appearing in the playoffs and sidelined for the entire 2017 campaign.

Last year, Gregory was given another chance by the league office and was reinstated on a conditional basis. Playing mostly in a reserve role, Gregory managed six sacks and 25 tackles in 14 games and showed serious promise. Sadly, the offseason would bring another familiar hurdle for Gregory as he violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy yet again and was banned indefinitely.

Despite it all, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has remained steadfast in his support of the 26-year-old.

He’s a pure soul first and foremost, the proof of that is how he’s thought of everybody around him, teammates coaches everyone,” Jones said in March. “He’s genuinely afflicted, genuinely. It’s real. He has to work through, just as you would many things as human beings. He has to work through this, the way and the way he works through it, the way he deals with his circumstances. It’s impressive. It may not look that impressive when you say look at the penalties that he’s endured, but it is impressive.

Weeks later, Jones backed up those words with an extension that will keep Gregory in a Cowboys uniform through 2020, provided that the NFL allows him to play. The Cowboys remain hopeful that Gregory will be cleared to play sometime in 2019, and, more importantly, get his personal life on track.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Cowboys, Gregory, Pats, Gronk

This week, the Cowboys surprised many when they signed Randy Gregory to an extension. The immensely talented edge rusher is serving the fourth substance abuse suspension of his career, one that has him indefinitely banned. Still, the Cowboys gave him a new contract to take him through the 2020 season.

The Cowboys believe that Gregory can be an impact player once again, and coach Jason Garrett says the organization appreciates the seriousness of what he is dealing with.

Again, without going into the details of all the things he’s done to try to get to the point where he can play for us, it’s been a very serious approach as an organization and his approach has been serious,” Garrett said. “He’s been able to make strides. He was able to come back and play for us and be a very productive player and a productive guy in our locker room but unfortunately, my understanding of all of this is sometimes relapse is part of rehab, so we’re working through the process of suspension right now with the NFL, but Randy Gregory is working very hard trying to get back, trying to get the situation under control and we’re doing everything we can under the rules to help him do that.”

The Cowboys are hopeful that Gregory’s ban will be lifted sometime in 2019, but if it’s not, they plan to have him on the field in 2020.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • Redskins left tackle Trent Williams should be ready for training camp after having a growth or tumor on his head removed (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). For a while, teammates were under the impression that the potentially malignant growth could keep Williams out for the season. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and Williams should be OK moving forward. The veteran has dealt with multiple health issues over the last few seasons – he’s missed time with thumb, knee, and rib injuries. In 2017, he managed to play through a torn patellar tendon and pushed off surgery until the offseason.
  • A reminder from ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss – If Rob Gronkowski isn’t moved off the reserve/retired list by Week 13, he can’t return at all. There has been speculation that the tight end could make a mid-season return to the Patriots, though Gronk insists that he’s done with football.

Cowboys, Randy Gregory Agree To Extension

The Cowboys and Randy Gregory have agreed to an extension that will keep him under club control through the 2020 season, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The news is somewhat surprising, given that Gregory was recently hit with the fourth suspension of his career for violating the substance abuse policy and is indefinitely banned from the NFL. 

The new pact will convert $310K of Gregory’s 2019 salary into a signing bonus. Meanwhile, he’ll gain an additional year worth $735K that can increase with a salary escalator.

For their part, the Cowboys are hopeful that Gregory can be reinstated for 2019. If not, he’ll have a home for 2020, provided that he can convince the NFL to allow him to return to the field once more.

The Cowboys aren’t necessarily banking on Gregory taking the field this year, but he would go a long way towards helping their pass rush. The Cowboys acquired defensive end Robert Quinn in a trade with the Dolphins last week, but it’s still possible that DeMarcus Lawrence will stay away from the club if he does not get the extension he is seeking.

Last year, Gregory finished out with six sacks, 25 total tackles, and two forced fumbles in just 522 snaps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Won’t Give Up On Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory has been banned from the NFL yet again, but the Cowboys aren’t giving up on the troubled defensive end. In a radio interview, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones explained that he still believes in Gregory, both as a player and as a person. 

He’s a pure soul first and foremost, the proof of that is how he’s thought of everybody around him, teammates coaches everyone,” Jones said when asked why the Cowboys continue to support Gregory (via Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram). “He’s genuinely afflicted, genuinely. It’s real. He has to work through, just as you would many things as human beings. He has to work through this, the way and the way he works through it, the way he deals with his circumstances. It’s impressive. It may not look that impressive when you say look at the penalties that he’s endured but it is impressive. He’s trying to work through it. Everybody on this team knows that he is. He’s an outstanding player by instincts, mentally, physically, he’s outstanding. He doesn’t pretend to be anything that he isn’t.”

Gregory was indeed outstanding last season, finishing out with six sacks, 25 total tackles, and two forced fumbles in just 522 snaps. Although the length of Gregory’s ban is indefinite, Jones believes that he may be able to play in Week 1 of the 2019 season.

I am by no means, in any way, weary, discouraged. As a matter of fact with his contribution that he made last year, all be we’d like to have more,” Jones said. “But what we did get, the impact he made was there. He did nothing but would encourage me to help him in any way we can to have a career. He’s a relatively young guy. He’s in excellent, relatively speaking for what he plays and what he’s been through as his position, he’s relatively healthy. He’s a guy we can invest some of our time in to help him get here and it will help us win.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys’ Randy Gregory Banned Indefinitely

Cowboys edge defender Randy Gregory has been suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and the terms of his conditional reinstatement, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Unfortunately, this is not the first rodeo for the 26-year-old. 

[RELATED: NFL Awards Compensatory Draft Picks To Cowboys, Other Clubs]

Last year, Gregory returned from another ban to appear in 14 games for the Cowboys. In a mostly reserve capacity, the Nebraska product showed why the Cowboys invested a second-round pick in him back in 2015. Gregory finished out the year with six sacks, 25 total tackles, and two forced fumbles, giving the Cowboys reason to be excited for his 2019 campaign.

The expectation for Randy is the exact same: to get him back on the field playing as soon as possible,”said Gregory’s attorney Daniel Moskowitz (via USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein). “Our personal confidence in him has not wavered. This is about more than football. We appreciate the public recognizing this is a private matter and thank the Jones (family) and Cowboys for their continued support.”

The ban marks Gregory’s fourth career suspension for substance abuse. The league has relaxed its stance on repeat offenders of the policy, but the road back to the field is tough when a player violates the policy while under conditional reinstatement. With that in mind, Gregory’s case probably won’t be revisited until 2020, at the earliest. As Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports tweets, Gregory is no longer subject to the standard reinstatement process, which means that it is unclear exactly what he has to do to work his way back onto the field. His fate is entirely in the hands of Roger Goodell, who simply decides if and when Gregory will be permitted to return.

The Cowboys may look to fortify their pass rush in the draft now that Gregory’s status is in doubt. Team VP Stephen Jones said he has known that the indefinite ban was coming for some time, but he obviously declined to comment on how it would impact the club’s draft strategy (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News).

Gregory’s suspension may also ramp up the pressure on Dallas to get a deal done with DeMarcus Lawrence, who has threatened to hold out if tagged for a second consecutive year. The Cowboys recently made an offer to Lawrence, and they’ll wait up until the March 5 deadline before pulling the trigger on the tag.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Tannehill, Allen, Cowboys, Jaguars, Raiders

As expected, Ryan Tannehill is out again this week. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Dolphins quarterback will sit out Thursday’s game against the Texans. Brock Osweiler will once again slide into the starting lineup.

We heard recently that Tannehill’s injured shoulder wasn’t expected to sideline for an extended amount of time. ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe echoes that sentiment, tweeting that the quarterback could begin throwing sometime this week.

In five games this season, Tannehill has thrown for 972 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions. Osweiler has been solid in his place, throwing for 654 yards, six scores and two picks.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Bills quarterback Josh Allen is out again this weekend, reports ESPN’s Mike Rodak (via Twitter). Derek Anderson will slide back into the starting lineup one week after having thrown three interceptions in a loss to the Colts. Allen hadn’t looked a whole lot better through his first six NFL games, as he completed only 54-percent of his passes for 832 yards, two touchdowns, and five interceptions.
  • After having dealt with discomfort through the early part of the season, Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee today, reports ESPN’s Todd Archer (via Twitter). Fortunately, the 25-year-old is expected to be ready for his team’s next game against the Titans on November 5th. Gregory has compiled 10 tackles and one sack in six games this season. Meanwhile, Archer notes that right guard Zack Martin and tight end Geoff Swaim suffered sprained MCL’s this weekend, and there’s optimism that the pair will be back following the bye week.
  • Cowboys C.J. Goodwin broke his forearm during Sunday’s loss to the Redskins and will miss the rest of the season, reports ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter). The 28-year-old journeyman has collected a single tackle in two games this season. The Cowboys could be seeking some cornerback reinforcement for the bench behind Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis.
  • Jaguars linebacker Donald Payne suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain during Sunday’s loss to the Texans, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 24-year-old is set to miss the next three to four weeks, although the team’s upcoming bye week could reduce the number of games missed. In seven games this season, the second-year pro has compiled a single tackle. During Payne’s absence, Blair Brown or Lerentee McCray could see some snaps behind starting middle linebacker Myles Jack.
  • Raiders defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes is practicing with the team this week, reports ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez (via Twitter). Since the former third-rounder is on the PUP, he’ll have to be activated or placed on the injured reserve within the next three weeks. The UCLA product compiled 18 tackles in 16 games (13 starts) last season.

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.