There was a report last Friday that Randy Gregory, the suspended Cowboys defensive end who hasn’t played 2018, filed for reinstatement from the NFL. While newer reports today reveal Gregory hasn’t made the official request yet, they do confirm his intention to return to football in 2020.
ESPN’s false report on Gregory’s reinstatement request was debunked later that evening by NFL Network’s Jane Slater, and more details have come out today from Sport Illustrated’s Mike Fisher.
Following reports of his filing for reinstatement, I reached out to Randy Gregory and he says “I’m hopeful of a return to football in 2020 but papers haven’t been filed yet. #Cowboys
Many Cowboys fans roll their eyes now at the mention of Gregory’s name after a disappointing history of drug-related suspensions. However, his potential return this season could be a major boon for Dallas.
Last year’s sack leader, Robert Quinn, is an unrestricted free agent who could command a big payday. Dallas also has a tough decision to make on keeping or cutting Tyrone Crawford, plus the free agency of backup Kerry Hyder.
Despite all the drama, Gregory is a proven sack artist who should can provide immediate help. In 2018 he had six sacks for Dallas despite playing in just 14 games and just 44% of the team’s total defensive snaps.
As I wrote about two weeks ago, the expected changes to the NFL’s drug policy on marijuana use should benefit Randy Gregory. His reinstatement request would likely be granted regardless, but the lighter policy would help him to stay active and avoid future suspensions.
We thought that Gregory would try to come back last year but apparently decided to stay away and work on himself; preparing so that his next attempt to return to the NFL would be a successful one. It appears the wait may finally be over.
This isn’t to say that Dallas should just let Robert Quinn leave, or not draft a pass rusher in April, based on Randy’s potential comeback. Counting on him is still a high-risk strategy.
Still, Randy Gregory’s likely availability for 2020 could push the Cowboys to not overpay for Quinn or spend a first-round pick at defensive end. It’s a real factor in their offseason plans going forward and worth paying attention to.