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Could Re-Signing Dorance Armstrong be the Cowboys’ Best Move at DE?

On any ranking list of the Cowboys' 2022 , is at or near the very top. But , while not as notable, is coming off his own very impressive . Could re- Armstrong over Gregory actually be the best move for Dallas?

In no way are we knocking Gregory, arguably Dallas' third-best defensive player behind and last season. But Randy is heading into with momentum and talk that he could even see the from the Cowboys. This creates issues for Dallas.

Earlier this month, another of our writers discussed Dorance Armstrong's merit for a new contract. But could the Cowboys even go so far as viewing Dorance as an acceptable replacement for Randy Gregory?

Armstrong's name isn't nearly as big but his production wasn't that far off. Check out the stats for both players:

  • Armstrong – 13 games, five , 10 hurries
  • Gregory – 12 games, six sacks, 12 hurries

Sure, Gregory did a little more and in one fewer game. But you also have to consider how they were used in specific schemes. According to Pro Football Reference, Dorance was only used on three QB blitzes while Randy blitzed 12 times in 2021.

In general, Gregory was a featured player that was scheming to get some of the best chances at attacking quarterbacks. Armstrong was more of a rotation guy; certainly a pass rusher but not given some of the same looks and opportunities as Randy.

Also, by the time next season starts, Dorance will be just 25 while Randy turns 30 in November. Although Gregory's with has reduced his NFL mileage through the years, this is still a major age gap to consider.

The biggest consideration here, though, is the money. Gregory is among the top DE options in and projected to get around $12-$13 million annually in a new deal. If Dallas tries to keep him with the franchise tag, that number skyrockets to around $20 million for next year.

The market for Armstrong, a relative unknown, shouldn't be too competitive. But he proved last year that he can make impact plays and could perhaps increase production with a more featured role on .

Depending on other suitors or a lack thereof for Dorance in free agency, Dallas could potentially get him back at a steal. And while he may not be quite as dynamic athletically as Gregory, Armstrong could potentially make up for a lot of what Dallas would be losing at a fraction of the cost.

With , , , and other positions begging for attention this just as badly as defensive end, the Cowboys can't afford premium talent at all of them. They have to pick their spots for fiscally-sound decisions and Dorance Armstrong may present them with one of their better opportunities to save cap space without taking a heavy hit on the field.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
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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gary b

I would not overpay for Gregory. His body of work is sparse and I don’t trust him. But he plays a premium position, so some team will overpay him. I just hope it’s not the Cowboys.

Resign Armstrong and use the money saved by not signing Gregory on another DE or position of need.

Cowboy Fan Ed

I agree Gary b! RG needs to learn how to watch the ball for movement and not listen to the QB’s hard count! Another thing he needs to learn is to use his hands in a way to shed a defender without getting a defensive holding call!


One of the problems Dallas had last season was stopping the run especially against good teams San Fran The AFC teams. Re signing Armstrong gives you much need depth . Lawrence and Gregory both had injury issues which didn’t help matters. The penalties that’s on McCarthy because he isn’t holding his players accountable. Jimmy Johnson had no hesitation to get in a players face when they committed stupid penalities. Cowboys desperately need help on the offensive line. That reared its ugly head a lot even against weaker teams and the teams with winning records .

gary b

Agree with Lawrence. Obviously depending on what happens in free agency and taking into account our weak spots last year. I would put OL as biggest need, followed by DL and LB.

Have to shore up Interior of DL and stop the run. Osa, Gallimore and Hill are penetrating 3-techs, we don’t need more of those. We need a behemoth that can stop the run and push the pocket. If we lose RG DE becomes more of a need and a draft possibility. Also would open up possibly resigning Armstrong.

LB and Safety will be thin and will need to be addressed as well. But OL is the top priority, particularly Guard. Allowed the pocket to collapse in on Dak all year.

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