While he's arguably the top free agent for the Cowboys in 2022, Defensive End Randy Gregory apparently won't be getting the typical star treatment. According to a report yesterday, Dallas does not plan to use the franchise tag this offseason on Gregory.
This news comes on the heels of reports that the Cowboys are instead considering using the tag on Tight End Dalton Schultz. While Gregory is arguably more important to keep given his impact on the defense, the franchise tag for a DE is about $7 million higher than a TE this year.
A source tells @dmn_cowboys the Cowboys have no plans to place the franchise tag on Randy Gregory at this time.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 7, 2022
Franchise Tag costs (if used) for the Cowboys:
Randy Gregory – $17.86 MM
Dalton Schultz – $10.93 MM
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) March 7, 2022
This doesn't mean the Cowboys are more desperate to keep Schultz than Gregory. It's more of an accounting issue; retaining Schultz at $10.9 million is easier to work into the salary cap than a massive $17.9 million bump for Gregory.
Dallas is no doubt in talks with Randy about returning. After years of suffering through Gregory's suspensions and personal issues, he is finally delivering as the play-making pass rusher the team always knew he could be.
Though Gregory turns 30 this November, his suspensions have reduced the typical wear and tear and hopefully delayed the usual biological breakdown. Dallas is likely seeking a multi-year extension that will reduce Randy's cap hit from the franchise tag number and offer him some long-term security in return.
However, given his strong 2021 performance, Randy Gregory should command attention in this free agency market. The Cowboys could be playing a dangerous game by letting him test that market.