What a crazy day it was for the Dallas Cowboys and their fans. The day started with a ton of good news, the team reached a deal with safety Malik Hooker, then minutes later word emerged they had another deal in hand. Defensive end Randy Gregory was on his way to an eighth season with the organization, agreeing to a five-year, $70 million deal.
And then he wasn’t. He was on his way to Denver instead, and the reason he was quickly making the rounds was that the team had tried to introduce a provision into the final version of the deal that infuriated Gregory and his agent Peter Shaffer. In the hours that followed, various members of the media shared the Cowboys’ version that the problem was the language the Cowboys were using to protect themselves if Gregory ran into the NFL again. Things were turning into a he said, she said. But as the old saying goes, there are three sides to every story. Side A, side B and the truth.
Is this the truth? Who knows, but myself, Chris Arnold and Kevin Gray came up with a theory live Tuesday night on Nosebleed Seats on 105.3 The Fan. This is how the theory was born.
Pro-Randy media take
Since everything is instantaneous on Twitter, several notable members of the media have taken to their accounts to berate the Cowboys for screwing things up so horribly. The story of how Jerry Jones had to step in and save a negotiation emerged from CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker, who initially announced several days ago that Denver was going to be the biggest threat to Gregory’s return to the Cowboys.
Other members of the media proclaimed how the Cowboys tinkered with the language at the last minute and that the tinkering had to do with a clause that spoke about Gregory’s history of clashing with the league.
Pro Cowboys media hit back
As the minutes progressed, another side to the story emerged, which was that the Cowboys claimed there was nothing in their deal that they hadn’t included in all the other contracts they worked. , with the exception of the contract awarded to Dak Prescott. Before too long, some members of the media were able to obtain (read: received) copies of Gregory’s potential contract AND his old contract.
This was to show that the language allowed the Cowboys to get off the case if Gregory was fined or suspended.
So how can both sides be right?
Here’s where the theory comes in. In dissecting the events of the day, I told Gray and Arnold, who we’ve heard in previous days that the Cowboys are going to do different internal free agent business in 2022.
Instead of making the first pitch (and sometimes the second pitch) like they usually do, and trying to stop the guys they want to stop from negotiating with other clubs, they instead wanted the players to buy themselves- same, then come back and give Dallas a chance to make a final offer. This was from 105.3 The Fan’s Bobby Belt, the Cowboys insider.
It was stated by CBS Sports’ Walker that there was a delay in Dallas even coming to the table to negotiate with Gregory. Obviously, they could have approached an extension with him at any time during the season or any time in the last three months of the offseason, but they didn’t.
At the same time, I mention it to the hosts of the show, Pro Football Talk posted an article where Peter Shaffer gave his side of the story.
“Schaffer told PFT by phone Tuesday night that he brokered a deal between Gregory and the Broncos, and it basically happened Monday night. Then the Cowboys got heavily involved.
Boom, this backs up the belt’s report that Dallas wanted players to find out where they landed in the league and come back, and also backs up Walker’s words that Denver was the all-time favorite.
“Gregory then decided not to sign with the Broncos, and to stay with the Cowboys. But then came the actual Cowboys contract. Schaffer said he was surprised to find language that destroyed all safeguards in the event of an NFL fine.
“No other team has this language in their contracts,” Schaffer told PFT. “No other team. Never in 30 years have I seen this language.
Reading this, Arnold marries the concepts together. Here is the theory.
What if, Shaffer and Gregory gave Dallas a copy of the contract the Broncos had offered Gregory. In the Broncos contract, is there no language that talks about voiding warranties in the event of a fine or suspension?
The Cowboys look at the contract, pay close attention to metrics like signing bonus, base salary, incentives and escalators and say “hey, we’re okay with that. We’ll give it to you no problem.
Both sides end negotiations and the Cowboys tell their contractee to draft it.
Only, he does not copy the Broncos’ offer word for word. He puts the numbers in the blanks of the Cowboys contract template. A model that includes confiscation language.
So while yes the Cowboys included him in almost all of their other contracts, including Gregory’s previous deal, it wasn’t in the contract that they told Schaffer they were going to tie because , again, the Broncos would not include this clause.
That’s how the Cowboys can pretend there was nothing wrong with them, but Gregory’s side can feel like they were done wrong.
The Agent’s Angle and the Consequences
Schaffer represents another Cowboys client with whom things are contentious, right tackle La’el Collins. I don’t know if he’s representing any other Cowboys, but clearly the 2021 debacle over NFL and Dallas corruption giving Schaffer a chance to try and broker a trade means the two sides have come together. faced before.
Maybe that bad blood seeped into this negotiation. With Gregory’s suspension history, it makes perfect sense that he would be surprised by the addition of a clause, especially if the agent doesn’t segment his feelings about the organization when advising Gregory what to do. I don’t know if that’s the case, I’m just saying it’s a possibility.
Ultimately, as PFT points out, even after back and forth over whether or not it was included, the Cowboys could have removed the clause, as they did for Prescott. They could have done this to appease Gregory, but perhaps they were concerned with setting a precedent, which is almost always the case with large corporations.
They don’t like to stray from the model or the next guy with a story will demand such allowances.
Maybe Gregory could have given in.
However, Gregory is not the typical NFL player who made millions upon millions. Fines and suspensions caused him to spend entire seasons in the red. He worked at Amazon while being an NFL player. This big deal is everything, and despite all the hoops and hurdles he has been through and through, it was perhaps a slap in the face that the organization added this clause which could see him lose money yet again.
Hear the theory unfold
Ultimately, this is all just a theory, but the essence of it feels like it might be right. The Cowboys told Gregory to bring them back the offer he was willing to accept. He did. The Cowboys said they would match, but when they reconstructed the numbers on their header, it included language they normally included, which violated the spirit of their agreement and insulted Gregory.
Dallas held firm to include the language, Gregory decided not to do business with them.
You can listen to us solve the problems here. My appearance is 20 minutes.