Cowboys notebook: Gregory reinstated

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) eludes the rush of Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94).Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

By Chad Conine, The Sports Xchange
Randy Gregory coming off suspension, joining camp

OXNARD, Calif. -- Defensive end Randy Gregory has been reinstated from suspension on a conditional basis and he is headed to training camp with the rest of the team on July 24.

Per the NFL in a press release, Gregory may join the Cowboys at training camp and participate in meetings, conditioning work, and similar activities.

Once arrangements have been confirmed regarding Gregory's clinical resources in Dallas, and subject to continued compliance with the terms of his reinstatement and all aspects of the Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse, per the collective bargaining agreement, he will be permitted to participate in all activities, including practices and games.

This is a huge step in the right direction for Gregory, who has played in just 14 games since the Cowboys picked him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played in 12 as a rookie. In 2016, he missed the first 14 games under NFL suspension, returned for two games at the end of the season before being suspended indefinitely Jan. 16, 2017.

Gregory has been working with former Oakland Raiders defensive end Greg Townsend in hopes dusting some rust off his game in case he was cleared for camp.

The Cowboys are as deep as they have been in a long time at defensive end. Gregory joins DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Taco Charlton, Kony Ealy, Charles Tapper and rookie Dorance Armstrong on the edge.

--Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will play the 2018 season under the franchise tag, as expected. Lawrence has already parlayed his breakout performance of 14.5 sacks in 2017 into a $17.1 million contract in 2018, per the terms of the franchise tag.

The sides never really got into a heavy discussion regarding a long-term contract extension because there was too much uncertainty regarding what to pay Lawrence, who had only nine sacks his first three seasons combined.

The Cowboys don't believe he is a one-hit wonder because his dominance in 2017 was transcendent and his work ethic can't be questioned.

He had a team-leading 52 quarterback pressures, more than the next two Cowboys combined -- Tyrone Crawford (26) and Maliek Collins (25).

But there is also nothing wrong with letting him put together another strong season to remove all doubt, especially when you consider that Lawrence is seeking a big-money extension that will pay him among the top five players at his position in the league, if not No. 1.

New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon is the current standard bearer, signing a five-year, $85 million contract in 2016. His contract is a starting point for Lawrence. Not coincidentally, they both share the same agent.

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