FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) - It would be one thing if the Dallas Cowboys were offering up a grand show of support for the future of presently-suspended defensive end Randy Gregory in the form of piles and piles of cash.
This is another thing.
The Cowboys have extended the contract of the oft-troubled 26-year-old pass-rusher, per NFL Network, the team converting $310,000 of Gregory’s 2019 salary to a signing bonus and tacking onto his existing deal another year, for 2020, worth $735,000.
It can be assumed there are incentives to be earned there, too, largely based on not only Gregory's productivity (he had six sacks in 2018) but also on his availability (he has, since coming out of Nebraska as a second-round pick, spend most of his career under the suspension thumb of the NFL.) But the $735,000 is a wildly affordable way to keep contractual control of a player Dallas believes has all-star abilities as a pass-rusher.
The Cowboys also believe in Gregory as a person, and that is part of this, too. Additionally, it is the position of the Gregory camp that his 2018 campaign was one of great behavioral success but included one stumble that has placed him back on the commissioner's "suspended indefinitely'' list. There is actually some hope among Gregory supporters that this latest suspension may not cut into his game availability at all in 2019 as the NFL increases its awareness of the use of marijuana by those with mental health issues.
And while the Cowboys recently chased some insurance against another Gregory failure -- the trade last week with the Miami Dolphins for defensive end Robert Quinn likely puts Quinn at the top of the depth chart at right end, with Gregory behind him -- this contract move gives Dallas more insurance of a different sort.
There has been some debate, due to the series of extensions, as to whether Gregory was to be restricted or unrestricted after this season. I'm still checking on the Cowboys' official word there. But in either event, he's clearly under contract for 2020 now -- and on the cheap.
This is presently Gregory's fourth suspension for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The Cowboys have pledged their belief in him and their support of him as, to quote coach Jason Garrett, “get his issues under control.”
Randy Gregory's issues are not yet under control. But he's not under contractual control of the Cowboys for another year ... meaning maybe both sides are showing some faith in each other.