2. Randy Gregory, DE
This loss was upsetting for a whole slew of reasons. On a surface level, Gregory was a long-time presence on the Dallas defense. In 2021, Gregory had the ninth-best pressure rate amongst pass rushers. There was only one game last year (against Tampa Bay in Week 1) where he did not record a single QB pressure. His sack numbers may not be the highest, but he had 19 tackles, a tackle for loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and an interception last year.
The biggest issue with losing Gregory is that he leaves a huge void in a defense that already has positional needs this offseason. The Cowboys need another linebacker or edge rusher to work alongside Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence. However, there’s a reason we put Gregory at No. 2 instead of Cooper.
The now Bronco has spent way too much time off the field, whether that be for injuries or for suspensions. Gregory has never played more than 11 games in a season and has never totaled more than 6.0 sacks. Lawrence and Parsons were far more crucial to the defense than Gregory.
After being drafted in 2015, Gregory missed most of the 2016 and the entire 2017 season. In 2021, he missed time with COVID and a calf strain. His 11 starts in 2021 were a career-high and Denver is hoping he is going to continue projecting upwards.
The other issue is how the Cowboys lost him. While many reporters are up in arms about the situation, no matter who you feel is at fault, Dallas lost Gregory due to contract clauses. The front office wanted to put a clause in his contract that would void any guarantees if Gregory was fined or suspended. The team claimed it was a clause in everyone’s contract, but it was apparently absent from Dak Prescott’s.
After everything was all but secured, the front office tried to change the wording and Gregory said see you later. His agent said he’d never seen that language in a contract in his 30 years. Regardless of what really happened behind closed doors, the point is that the Cowboys couldn’t get it done.
Unlike Dallas, the Broncos are making moves this offseason. They’ve signed Russell Wilson and re-signed linebacker Josey Jewell. Gregory will likely join Bradley Chubb as a starting outside linebacker in the Broncos’ 3-4 defense. Although Gregory leaves big shoes to fill, his off-the-field issues and injuries make him less of a loss than Cooper.