Cowboys Sign Reinstated DE Randy Gregory to Contract Extension: Report

Randy Gregory

Getty Randy Gregory

Everything is coming up Randy Gregory.

Days after earning his conditional reinstatement to the NFL, the veteran Dallas Cowboys defensive end inked a one-year extension through 2021, ESPN’s Todd Archer reported Tuesday.

Gregory, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, received a $200,000 signing bonus and can make a maximum of $2.1 million next season, according to Archer. Additional contract details, including guaranteed money and likely significant incentives, are not yet known as of this writing.

The former second-round pick was consistently punished by league commissioner Roger Goodell for ongoing drug infractions amid his first few professional campaigns. Gregory posted an out-of-nowhere six-sack 2018 before once again running into trouble; he was suspended indefinitely in February 2019 for breaking the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and the terms of his conditional reinstatement. That April, however, the Cowboys extended Gregory’s deal through 2020.

This past February, Gregory officially filed for his return to the sport, “hopeful” of playing again. The team tentatively expected Goodell to reinstate Gregory once more, as the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement relaxed punishment on marijuana-related offenses, no longer suspending for positive tests.

Sure enough, Goodell approved Gregory’s request on Sept. 4.

“Today is a day of celebration and thanks,” Gregory posted to Twitter following his reinstatement. “I would like to thank Roger Goodell, Todd Jones and Kevin Manara of the NFL, Jerry and Stephen Jones, Jason Cohen, Will McClay, Todd Williams, and Josh Brent of the Cowboys, Dr. Dina Hijazi, DeMaurice Smith, my agent Peter Schaffer and most importantly my family for sticking by me thru thick and thin and to help me get to the positive place I am at today. It’s go time. I am in a good place and plan to use this second chance to be a great father, player, citizen of Dallas, and teammate. Let’s get this!!! #RG94”

The Cowboys received a roster designation for Gregory, who did not count against the 53-man limit. Even if he did, it sounds as if the club is reluctant to cut bait with a controversial yet eye-popping talent.

“He’s really doing well off the field. It goes without saying what we think about him as a player,” Dallas VP Stephen Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan, via The Athletic. “He’s just going to add to what we think is a really stout defensive front. You can’t have enough of these pass rushers.”

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Gregory Begins Acclimation Plan

Because his decision came down days before the Sept. 13 regular-season opener, and it’s anything but a normal NFL year, Gregory will be required to sit out a handful of games while undergoing a re-entry period.

The 27-year-old began his mandatory COVID-19 testing Monday. He must wait three days prior to entering the Cowboys’ facility to start meetings, workouts and conditioning exercises. The earliest he’s eligible to practice is Oct. 7. The earliest he can play is Oct. 25 at Washington.

When he completes the process, Gregory will slide in as a third-down specialist for new, blitz-happy coordinator Mike Nolan. He joins a stacked group that includes DeMarcus Lawrence, Everson Griffen, Tyrone Crawford, and Aldon Smith, who also scored reinstatement this offseason.

Lawrence and Crawford were listed as the starting defensive ends on Dallas’ first 2020 depth chart, released Tuesday. Griffen is the primary reserve behind Lawrence. Smith, apparently, is kicking to strongside linebacker to replace incumbent greybeard Sean Lee, who will miss at least three games on short-term injured reserve.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL