Randy Gregory had 14 million reasons to hold firm in his position with the Cowboys

NFL: DEC 26 Lions at Cowboys
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Much has been said, and much will be said, by reporters and fans regarding the events that led to defensive end Randy Gregory leaving the Cowboys for the Broncos. In assessing why he cared about the language in the Dallas contract, it’s important to understand how the language could have affected Gregory.

His contract with the Broncos includes $28 million in full guarantees. Of that amount, $14 million will be paid this year, and the remaining $14 million will be paid next year.

The $14 million guarantee in 2023 comes in the form of base salary. Thus, if Gregory were to engage in conduct that would void his guarantees, he could be released before the start of the 2023 regular season, and the entire amount would be avoided.

In Denver, that opportunity arises only if Gregory is suspended. In Dallas, Gregory’s $14 million would have been put at risk for merely a fine under the substance-abuse policy. Given his history of substance-abuse suspensions, Gregory and his agent decided not to hinge $14 million on the possibility of a fine between now and September 2023.

If Gregory had signed with the Cowboys, if he’d gotten fined under the substance-abuse policy in 2022 or most of 2023, and if the Cowboys had decided at any point before Week One of the 2023 season that Gregory’s anticipated performance no longer justifies the money he’s due to make in 2023, they could have ripped up the deal and avoided every penny of the $14 million.

Decisions like that are made all the time. For plenty of players, guaranteed salaries save them from getting cut. If, for example, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott‘s $12.4 salary for 2022 weren’t fully guaranteed, he would have been released by now.

That’s why Gregory and his agent took a hard line. In Denver, a fine under the substance-abuse policy will not affect his 2023 guarantees. The Cowboys wouldn’t agree to that approach.

The Cowboys are pushing to reporters the idea that this is “standard” language in their contracts. And, with the exception of the Dak Prescott contract, it very well may be. Teams that take these hard-line, this-is-how-we-do-it approaches risk losing players to teams that don’t insist on doing business that way.

And if the Cowboys are upset about that, they only have themselves to blame.

19 responses to “Randy Gregory had 14 million reasons to hold firm in his position with the Cowboys

  1. The Cowboys were loyal to him from day 1. They stuck by him with all of the suspensions and wanted to work with him. The team literally bent over backwards for him and this is how he pays them back. I’m just glad that this helped avoid Jerry over spending on him anyways

  2. Here’s an idea, don’t do drugs and risk losing your salary! He wouldn’t have an NFL career if it wasn’t for Jerry sticking with him through 54 games worth of suspensions. Commit to Jerry the way he committed to you and accept the challenge of staying clean while playing ball. Lost in all.of this is the fact that he only has 16.5 sacks in 5 years so this could be a blessing in disguise. He’ll never stay clean in a weed-legal state without the supporting structure he got in Dallas. Simply out, Gregory was not ready to man up and bet on himself which is a red flag to begin with

  3. I am not a fan of the Cowboys or Gregory, but the way Gregory acted yesterday tells you all you need to know. The Cowboys stuck by and supported Gregory through all of his issues over the year. Yu would think the support for the player would have been enough.

  4. I get where people are coming from with the loyalty but these billionaires don’t care about you, not really, so you have to take care of #1 first.

  5. Nobody on this planet thinks Dallas is going to void guarantees from a simple fine. Get a grip

  6. Maybe he considered the overall mediocre record of the Jerrah GM’ed Cowboys and decided he has a better shot at a SB ring in Denver.

    Wilson >>> Dak

  7. I get the Cowboys were “loyal” to Gregory takes, but how much loyalty should reasonably be expected if there is a potential $14M difference in compensation?

  8. It has nothing to do with “not breaking the rules” it’s just capitalism. Teams make competing offers, the player chooses the one that makes the most sense, considering all factors. The Broncos offered more flexible contract terms, end of story.

  9. Makes sense now. Smart move by him. Have to wonder if it was Denver who pointed it out to him.

  10. Cowboys will still go “one and done” in the playoffs with or without Gregory.

  11. You can’t name one player Cowboys have actually invoked that rule on. It was in Gregory’s original contract and it wasn’t invoked. Gregory for whatever reason has trust issues with the Cowboys who stuck by him. Very odd.

  12. Use that money to sign Wagner and watch this D become a top 5 defense in the league.

  13. Cowboys are not going to sign Wagner, they’re in the Compensatory sweepstakes.. If you read the language of that contract you will see that the Cowboys can cancel the guarantees for talking to the media in any way the Cowboys deem derogatory, posting on social media anything against a coach – the team -etc., if you miss a rehab session, if you miss a practice, if you miss a game, if he’s fined, etc… Only a fool would sign that contract – those of you who say Dallas has never invoked such language need to understand it’s not your $14 Million you’re putting at risk. What if Gregory wore the wrong socks or was fined for a late hit, roughing the passer fine, etc.. I do a LOT of work for attorney’s and none of them would advise their client to sign a contract with such superfluous language.

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