49ers Free Agent Drawing ‘Interest’ From NFC West Rival

49ers free agent Randy Gregory

Getty 49ers free agent Randy Gregory

When the 49ers were able to land defensive end Randy Gregory from the Broncos back in October, it was a low-cost coup of sorts. San Francisco gave up virtually nothing to obtain Gregory, sending out a sixth-round pick in the deal but getting back a seventh-rounder. The hope was that Gregory still had something left in the tank to contribute to a 49ers pass rush that needed help for Nick Bosa.

It did not quite work out, though. Gregory did manage a sack and three tackles for a loss in his debut with the 49ers, the 19-17 loss to the Browns in Week 6, but that was probably the highlight of his season. He was in the rotation throughout the year but played less as the season went on.

The 49ers have shown no interest in bringing back Gregory, who is aiming for a 10th NFL season, including two for which he was suspended because of his past substance abuse issues. One of the 49ers’ top rivals, though, the NFC West stalwart Seahawks, are showing interest in Gregory, according to a report from CBS Sports.

“I’m told the #Seahawks are among teams that have shown preliminary interest in Randy Gregory, per source. New #Seahawks defensive coordinator Aden Durde was in Dallas as a defensive line coach when Gregory was with the #Cowboys,” Josina Anderson of CBS reported on Monday.

Randy Gregory Overcame Substance Abuse Problems

Though he did not work out as a long-term option in San Francisco, and though it would be nice if he signed anywhere but Seattle, it is easy to root for Gregory to get another NFL chance. His is a story of squandered opportunities and still some hope for redemption.

After spending his first six seasons with the Cowboys battling his demons and the fallout that came from his substance abuse suspensions—in addition to missing 2017 and 2019, he was suspended for the first six games of 2020—Gregory appeared to turn things around ahead of the 2021 season.

“It’s a lot of self-love,” Gregory told reporters in Dallas during the Cowboys’ mandatory minicamp in 2021. “There was a time in my life when you could ask me to say one good thing about myself and I couldn’t. I could say 20 bad things.

“I have come a long way from that. I can say a lot of good things about myself. I am proud of myself. I am proud of where I am at. I am proud of the journey I took. A lot of guys don’t make it as far as I have.”

Gregory had an outstanding 2021 season and translated that into a five-year, $70 million contract offer from the Broncos. So there was some redemption in that.

49ers Revamping Defensive Front

But things did not go well in Denver. Gregory suffered a knee injury in Week 4 in what was a disastrous season all around for the Broncos in 2022, and was limited to six games.

He was playing uninspiring football for the Broncos again this year when Denver began shopping him for a trade, with an eye on simply waiving him if there were no takers. The 49ers scooped him up as a low-risk gamble.

Gregory was a contributor, but the 49ers came into the offseason seeking a revamp of their defense, starting with the front line. They added veterans Jordan Elliott and Maliek Collins to the interior line after the surprise release of Arik Armstead, then brought in Jordan Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos to help on the edge. It’s possible they could add more depth in the draft, too.

Gregory won’t be part of the 49ers from here. But the team could very well see him more than once next year.


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