The Denver Broncos are undergoing some major changes early in the season following a rocky start on the defensive front.
Reports from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Wednesday confirm that the Broncos are parting ways with their pass rusher, Randy Gregory. The initial news was first reported by Pro Football Talk.
Broncos’ head coach, Sean Payton, stated that this decision was made in the best interest of the team. It is set to become official within the next 24-48 hours if no trade partner emerges. Payton emphasized that Gregory did not request his release.
Gregory had inked a substantial five-year, $70 million contract with the Broncos in March 2022. Unfortunately, injuries and a one-game suspension stemming from a post-match altercation limited him to just six games with the Broncos last season.
In the current 2023 season, Gregory managed only one sack and nine tackles in four games. Throughout his ten appearances in Denver, the 30-year-old defensive player accumulated a mere three sacks and 21 tackles.
Gregory’s playing time had been dwindling over the past couple of weeks, and he was eventually removed from the starting lineup in the Broncos’ Week 4 victory against Chicago.
Originally a second-round pick by the Cowboys in 2015, Gregory had a tumultuous early NFL career, marked by injuries and inconsistency. However, he later enjoyed success in Dallas, tallying 15.5 sacks in his final three seasons with the team.
His return to the Cowboys was almost a reality in 2022, with the team announcing it before contract negotiations fell through, leading him to choose Denver.
According to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero, the Broncos had been attempting to trade Gregory throughout the week, but no viable deals materialized. Consequently, the team is likely to release the veteran, opening up opportunities for younger players.
Nik Bonitto, with 3.5 sacks, and Jonathan Cooper, with 3.0 sacks, are expected to see increased playing time with Gregory no longer in the picture.
Coach Payton cited the promising performances of these young pass rushers as a contributing factor in the decision to part ways with Gregory. Additionally, the Broncos anticipate the return of Frank Clark, who has been sidelined since Week 1 with a hip injury.
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