In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few days, you most likely have heard about the events regarding now-former Dallas Cowboys defensive Randy Gregory and his decision to leave for the Dever Broncos. For about 90 minutes, the defender was set to continue his tenure with the Cowboys, but disagreements over contract verbiage sent him packing.
In short, Gregory will no longer play for Dallas. The team now has a hole at defensive end across from DeMarcus Lawrence. It had seemed for a day or two that the Cowboys’ main target to replace Gregory would be All-Pro and Super Bowl champion edge rusher Von Miller. So much so that Miller’s former teammate and Cowboys legend DeMarcus Ware took to social media to pitch the signing as well.
In the end, Miller ended up signing a six-year, $120 million deal with the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, so that route is no longer an option. So where does that leave Dallas? Who could come in or step up to help fill the hole across from Lawrence?
The Cowboys did finally bring in some help by signing former No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler Jr. late on Friday. However, there is no guarantee he will start. Despite the pickup, the Cowboys could (and should) still be on the search for a proven starter on the edge. Let’s look at a few options in free agency, the draft, the trade block, or even a solution at home.
6 potential players who can take over Randy Gregory’s role with the Cowboys
A day after the Gregory plan fell through, the Cowboys re-signed an in-house option to replace the defensive end. The front office signed free agent Dorance Armstrong to an extension to keep him on the roster. Armstrong was a fourth-round selection by the Cowboys in 2018 and will remain in Dallas on a two-year, $13 million deal. He has improved every year since entering the league and broke out a little this season, finishing with five sacks in 2021
With Gregory being sidelined for a portion of 2021, Armstrong had an increased role in the defense and started five games. While Gregory still outpaced him in hurries and sacks on 80 fewer snaps, his numbers match up pretty well with Gregory’s. It’s also worth mentioning that the re-signed Cowboy is five years younger.
Armstrong had 23 hurries compared to Gregory’s 25 and 5 sacks compared to Gregory’s 6. However, Armstrong caught fire towards the end of the season, recording a sack in each of the Cowboys’ last four games of the regular season.
This could’ve just been a streak for the former fourth-rounder, or it could be something more. Either way, the Cowboys made a smart decision in keeping Armstrong for the long haul. He is definitely a possible option to start in Gregory’s place next season.