The Denver Broncos put their eggs in the Dorance Armstrong basket, and that decision is paying dividends.
This offseason, Dallas Cowboys fans were frustrated when the team lost Randy Gregory in free agency to the Denver Broncos. According to reports at the time, terms were agreed upon, but Gregory wasn’t happy with some of the fine print in the contract language that protected the Cowboys more than the player.
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.
The Cowboys have overcome these obstacles left and right all season long and enter Thanksgiving week as the NFC team with the best probability of winning the Super Bowl.
Oh, and they still could add Odell Beckham Jr.