Last season, the Dallas Cowboys finished 10-6, on top of the NFC East, and made it into the second round of the playoffs before losing to the Seattle Seahawks. It was a good year, and they’re hoping to advance on it in 2019, but they’ve run into a few offseason speed bumps. One defensive player has been suspended, another has a pending suspension, and DeMarcus Lawrence has one foot out the door. All of these factors bring about cause for concern.
Things have become truly chaotic for the Cowboys over the last couple of days, and it has played havoc with their defense. As reported by ESPN, defensive end Randy Gregory has been indefinitely suspended by the NFL for once again violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Along with that infraction, Gregory has violated the terms of his conditional reinstatement.
The Cowboys organization was aware that this was coming, though, and they weren’t overly surprised. Gregory played 14 games last season, and finished second on the team with 28 quarterback pressures and six sacks.
It is not known how long he will end up being out, but his attorney — Daniel Moskowitz — says Gregory is working on getting back on the field “as soon as possible.” Gregory’s suspension comes at a bad time, though, as the Cowboys are possibly going to lose another defensive lineman to suspension as well.
Dallas defensive tackle David Irving is under evaluation from the NFL for a potential suspension, league sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Irving was suspended for the start of the past two seasons for a violation of the NFL's drug policy.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2019
#Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory has been suspended indefinitely for violating the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse and the terms of his conditional reinstatement. Big blow for Dallas.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2019
Bleacher Report revealed that David Irving is “under evaluation” by the NFL, and could face a possible suspension. If he ends up being suspended, it would be the third year in a row that he has been suspended, as he missed the first four games in both 2017 and 2018 due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
It is not confirmed why Irving is being looked at by the NFL, but it appears to be a drug issue again. Another suspension could end up jeopardizing his position on the team. Whether he is suspended for a number of games or is let go by the Cowboys, the team is looking at serious trouble along the defensive line.
With the loss of Gregory and a suspension looming for Irving, the Cowboys cannot afford any more issues along the D-line. That is why striking a deal with free agent DeMarcus Lawrence has now become a priority for the team, and they have started negotiations.
Cowboys have made first contract offer to DeMarcus Lawrence, remain 'very confident' a deal gets done https://t.co/YGQSskNP82
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) February 27, 2019
As reported by The Ringer, DeMarcus Lawrence has 25 sacks over the last two seasons. That is more than double the number of sacks posted by any other player on the Cowboys’ roster. It was already known that Lawrence is a beast of a player that any team would love to have, but Dallas now faces pressure to re-sign him.
Last season, Lawrence received the franchise tag for $17 million, and it is likely he will seek a new contract worth that or more. If a deal can’t be reached by March 5, 2019, the franchise tag could be placed on him again in order to make sure he doesn’t sign elsewhere.
The Dallas Cowboys haven’t even made it to the season yet, and they’re already in a good bit of trouble on defense. The suspension of Randy Gregory, the possible suspension of David Irving, and the uncertain status of DeMarcus Lawrence has the defensive line in shambles at this point — and some desperate help is needed.