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Broken Promise: Randy Gregory Fails Again, Should Cowboys Walk Away?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Draft Cowboys Headlines - How 4 Games Without Gregory & Lawrence Impacts Draft Plans 2

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”
– A Bronx Tale

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has failed another drug test. Currently serving a combined 14-game ban for a previous offenses, Gregory is now subject to a year-long ban from the NFL.

 - Randy Gregory, #94

AP Photo/Alix Drawec

Gregory’s drug issues and personal baggage cost him millions of dollars in the 2015 NFL Draft. He could have been a Top-15 pick or better, but the dynamic pass rusher fell to the second round because of these concerns. They have cost him nearly all of his second season, and now they may cost him his career.

Clearly, Gregory hasn’t learned any lessons. Now, the question is if the Cowboys have learned theirs.

The debate about marijuana use and how much the NFL should be policing it is a separate issue. Regardless of your politics or personal opinion, the simple fact is that there are a set of rules right now for being an NFL player. You either care enough to follow them or you don’t.

With Randy Gregory showing he doesn’t care enough about being a football player, the Cowboys have to decide if he’s worth their trouble. Does this young team, currently a Super Bowl contender and seemingly on the cusp of staying there for some time, need a guy like Gregory in the locker room?

You don’t need to look far for an example of how a team’s faith can go unrewarded. Rolando McClain is probably sitting somewhere along on the Chattahoochee River, waiting for a fish to bite while his football career goes to an early grave.

Cowboys Headlines - Rolando McClain and Randy Gregory: A Tale of Two Lockers 1

That isn’t to say all risks fail. There have been many NFL players who overcame whatever personal problems caused a stumble and became productive, even superstars.

The risk factor on Randy Gregory wasn’t just from personal problems, either. Although he was 6’5″ as a rookie, his lean 235-lb frame led to concern that he could be put on the weight to hold up as a defensive lineman. While his athleticism and burst worked well in the 2015 preseason, Gregory was not effective when he played during the real games.

Now, unfortunately, Gregory’s behavior and choices are making the physical issues a moot point.

By all accounts, Gregory is not the kind of selfish, lazy player that Rolando McClain has proven to be. Not only did he go to rehab for the drug issues but he’s reportedly been with the team while suspended.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

True story. Gregory is here quite often, working alongside Jaylon. Oh well. https://t.co/G5UDCjDFoL

The difference between Gregory and McClain was also evident in how the Cowboys have talked about and handled them during their suspensions. Dallas clearly still believed in Gregory and thought he was capable of turning things around.

Even if marijuana isn’t an addictive substance, there’s something about its effects that Gregory is clearly addicted to. If there really is some internal pain that he’s trying to escape from with his drug use, you can’t help but feel sympathy.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he deserve to play in the NFL. None of us could use that excuse in our own jobs.

Jerry Jones had a great quote earlier this year about how availability is more important than ability. Whether its drug suspensions, chronic injuries, or whatever else keeps a guy off the football field, his talent and potential don’t amount to much when he’s in streets clothes.

Assuming this latest offense and the one-year suspension stick, Randy Gregory would not be eligible to play football again until the Cowboys last few regular season games of 2017. They have two options now:

Cowboys Blog - Super Bowl MVP Von Miller Gives Randy Gregory Hope 21. Cut Gregory Loose

For the last few seasons, the “Right Kind of Guy” mantra that Jason Garrett preaches has been kicked squarely in the crotch. This latest failing from Gregory may not find much room for mercy.

Greg Hardy was the glaring contradiction, but the issues with Rolando McClain and Gregory haven’t helped. Joseph Randle’s spree of craziness, though he didn’t last long with the Cowboys, hasn’t helped the perception. Even the teams loyalty to Josh Brent after his DUI was brought into question.

Dallas could simply end their relationship with Gregory immediately or after the season. The two remaining years on his rookie contract would be a wash on the salary cap; the dead money and cap relief are almost equal in 2017.

You only make this move if you believe one of the following:

  • Your locker room needs to see that you will only tolerate so much from any one player, no matter where he was drafted or how much potential you think he has.
  • You’ve truly lost faith that Randy Gregory can turn his life and career around.

2. Wait and See

 - Randy Gregory, #94With Gregory suspended and not counting against their roster limit, the Cowboys don’t necessarily have to do anything. If he started now, Gregory would have almost six months until the Cowboys post-draft camps and OTAs. Perhaps a more extensive or intensive rehab stay, as opposed to the few months he did this past summer, would be fruitful.

Two of the NFL’s most notorious marijuana offenders, wide receivers Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon, remain under contract with their teams. The difference between them and Gregory is that they’ve both displayed league-leading potential when they’ve played, whereas Gregory has barely played enough to do so.

Dallas doesn’t get that second-round pick back if they release Gregory. He counts very little against the salary cap and doesn’t impact the roster while suspended. Knowing all that, how much does it really cost to keep him around?

If you’re confident in your locker room and don’t see Gregory as a bad influence or precedent, there’s really nothing to gain by releasing him. You’d only be appeasing angry, disappointed fans.

~ ~ ~

In the midst of so much good in this 2016 Cowboys season, a story like this almost feels out of place. Randy Gregory, as absent as he’s been the last two years, has never seemed less a part of this team’s culture or direction as right now.

The organization’s momentum hasn’t been this strong in some time, nor its future so bright. It’s sad that Gregory doesn’t appear capable of being part of the youth movement.

Even if it’s not in Dallas, I just hope he finds some answers soon.

 

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Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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4 Comments
  • https://plus.google.com/111684658631344877598 chrisp tovar

    GOODBYE RANDY WHAT AN IDIOT !

  • David Garcia

    Last sentence on the 8th paragraph doesn’t make sense. I think you need the word “when” instead of on. Loved the Bronx tale quote to start the read.

    • http://www.PigskinHub.com/ Jess Haynie

      That quote comes back to me every time I read about these athletes who allow personal issues to derail their careers. There are far too many of these stories.

      Thanks for reading and especially for commenting!

  • http://gravatar.com/hectare22 hectare22

    Let him and McClain hit the road, you don’t need that sort of negative chemistry around your locker room. The guys who are busting their tails every day in practice and doing it right will look at the coaches with some side eyes if they keep these guys on the roster..

Dallas Cowboys

Can Cowboys Trust Guard Jonathan Cooper in 2018?

Jess Haynie

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Jonathan Cooper

One of the big decisions facing the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 offseason is at left guard. Veteran Jonathan Cooper started 13 games last year and is now a free agent. Should Dallas bring Cooper back, or should they look elsewhere for next season’s starter?

With a lot of money already being spent on the rest of the starting offensive line, the Cowboys need a bargain at left guard. They didn’t re-sign Ronald Leary in 2017 for that very reason, hoping Cooper or Chaz Green would be able to handle the job for a fraction of what Leary got from the Denver Broncos.

Cooper took over for Green in Week 4 and held the job the rest of the season. The Cowboys rushing attack remained one of the league’s best, even performing well later in the year when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended. It looked like Jonathan could become part of future plans.

However, in Week 17, Cooper went out of the game with a knee injury. It thankfully wasn’t serious and he is expected to be ready for 2018. However, it was a reminder of the injury-plagued past that has caused the former first-round pick so much trouble.

Jonathan Cooper

Dallas Cowboys Guard Jonathan Cooper

Taken seventh overall in 2013 by the Arizona Cardinals, Jonathan Cooper was one of the true blue-chip guard prospects in recent draft history. He seemed like a can’t-miss pick, and interior linemen don’t often go that high in the draft. The Cowboys have even said they coveted Cooper in that class.

But constant battles with injuries caused Cooper to be traded, released, and discarded by the Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Cleveland Browns over his first four seasons. While 2017 was looking like a turning point for him, Jonathan’s injury in the season finale was a sobering reminder of why he’s become a bargain-bin player.

Still, at just 28-years-old, Cooper has good years left and will now have another offseason for continuity and chemistry development with the Cowboys.

Dallas should have to pay more than a few million to keep Cooper on the roster.

If Dallas is leery (no pun intended) of Cooper, they will have options. La’el Collins could move back to the guard position, allowing the Cowboys to go find either the best guard or tackle who would fit with their existing group.

Given so many other considerations this offseason, Dallas will likely try to simplify things by giving Jonathan Cooper another chance. His history is a red flag, but sometimes you have to take those gambles and save salary cap space to handle other needs.

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Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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