That freed up some money, and with that, the Cowboys awarded Dorance Armstrong with a $12 million extension (two years). A cheaper deal than they initially planned on handing out to Gregory, who was a more known commodity.
So far, that risk is looking incredibly prescient, though it did feel like a sizable gamble at the time.
Dallas Cowboys dodged a bullet when they lost Randy Gregory
Consider this graphic which really paints a picture of the two players and what they’ve accomplished this season:
Armstrong has not only performed better statistically, he’s simply been more available, appearing in more than double the number of games of Gregory. Gregory has been out for a knee injury since Week 4.
Per game, both players are averaging just over two tackles. Armstrong is putting up more sacks and tackles for losses per game while Gregory is putting up stronger forced fumbles and QB hits per game.
But does better per-game performance matter if you don’t see the field?
Armstrong is part of a Dallas defense that is holding opponents to the third-fewest amount of points per drive (1.54). The Broncos’ defense has been strong as well — their losses can largely be pinned on a lackluster offensive performance — but with an absentee rate of nearly 65 percent, you can’t really attribute much of that to Gregory.
Many thought losing Randy Gregory would be impossible for Dallas to overcome. Others felt the same when Tyron Smith went down due to injury before the season began.