Any person who knows Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones knows that the GM does a lot of spinning and explaining to get around some of his more questionable choices. The man knows how to manipulate his words and he certainly doesn’t like being wrong.
Earlier in the spring, Jones tried to spin a clear misstep. The team was prepared to offer former Cowboys DE Randy Gregory the same exact deal he got from the Denver Broncos before he bailed over contract language. To explain it away, the GM said he’d prefer to have two by naming “Armstrong and our other one.” Being unable to name your other Gregory replacement, Dante Fowler Jr., doesn’t exactly help your argument, Jerry.
But months later, it actually seems that one of Jones’s previous points about “availability” is coming to fruition for two of the star players the Cowboys lost this offseason: Gregory and La’el Collins.
Here was the owner’s quote from back in April:
"“Availability was a big item here. Being available. Always has been. Always has been. And you can reach a point where if you’ve got a big question mark on availability — forget ability, if you’ve got a big question mark on availability, do you want to strap on millions and millions of dollars to your salary cap with that big a question mark at availability? It got too high for the benefit of the team.”"
It turns out both Gregory and Collins aren’t available for at least the start of training camp with Denver and Cincinnati. Although Jones never said their names in his Tuesday press conference in Oxnard, the quote below certainly implies what he meant.
Jerry Jones may have been right about availability as former Cowboys Randy Gregory and La’el Collins are unavailable with injuries at the start of training camp
It is early on. But so far, his former players are proving him right.
Since 2015, Gregory played in just 50 of 112 possible regular season games with the Cowboys due to injuries, suspensions, and other issues.
The former Cowboy is now beginning his first training camp with the Broncos on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. Although he is expected to be ready for Week 1, a shoulder injury will have him potentially miss the entire preseason with his new squad. According to Pro Football Talk, the DE had an arthroscopic shoulder on his surgery weeks after signing with Denver in March.
Keep in mind the Cowboys are set to face the Broncos on August 13. Gregory may be sidelined for that matchup.
The lack of availability holds true for Collins as well. The OT missed the entire 2020 season and played in only 74 games in six total years due to suspensions and injuries.
On Sunday, it was reported that Collins would be put on the Bengals’ NFI list (non-football injury). The NFI and PUP lists are similar except that players on the NFI list have injuries sustained outside of playing in the NFL. According to Cincy head coach Zac Taylor, Collins’s ailment is a back injury.
The team is allegedly not worried about Collins’ future but wants to give him rest during the start of training camp in order to heal.
It was tough to watch four Cowboys starters leave the team this offseason, especially with the way some of the deals went down. Is Jones wrong about these two linemen having availability issues? No. Not at all. But the reality is that he did want and like them as players. It just didn’t make financial sense based on the horrific salary cap situation.
While we don’t wish injury or discomfort on anyone, Jones certainly gets brownie points amongst a partially dissatisfied fan base thanks to Collins and Gregory seeming to already have availability issues elsewhere. Way to go, Jerry.