The Denver Broncos announced on Wednesday that they plan to release defensive end Randy Gregory if they can’t find a trade partner and the veteran is garnering plenty of interest around the league now. The question is, will the Rams be one of those teams to call his agent?
The Rams currently have a rotation of Michael Hoecht, Byron Young, Nick Hampton, Zach VanValkenburg and Ochaun Mathis who was just reinstated from the injured reserve list. Young has looked great and is 15th per Pro Football Focus among all edge defenders in quarterback pressures. However, the rest haven’t done much of anything compared to that.
The fifth-round Hampton is someone who is an intriguing option for the Rams to give more reps to in game and especially when dropping into coverage. Mathis is the sixth-rounder the Rams feel good about but he hasn’t played a snap of regular season or preseason football at the NFL level to be fair.
Sources: Broncos are releasing LB Randy Gregory. The team wants to focus on young players. Gregory will be a free agent.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2023
This is why Gregory makes sense. The fit is definitely there, the Rams do need to upgrade the edge defender room since only Young is really contributing at a high level. In addition to the need, there is a fit here. Gregory was fifth in the league in quarterback pressures through the first four games in last year’s Broncos defense before going down with a knee injury. That defense? That was coordinated by former Rams defensive coach Ejiro Evero who was running a similar scheme and system the Rams currently run.
Gregory’s issues have always been injuries and off-the-field. However, Gregory has kept himself out of trouble since being reinstated in 2020. His 2021 season he had 43 pressures in 12 games with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s really been more than a name since he was reinstated and has actually been very productive.
Unfortunately, this year has been a rough one for Gregory. He doesn’t seem to fit Vance Joseph’s defense at all (not sure anyone does) and he’s put up a horrible 108th pass rusher win rate and 74th rated pressure rate. Some of this could certainly be Gregory losing a step since his meniscus surgery last year but some of this could and probably is on Joseph and his defense that is known now as one that gave up 70 points in a game to the Dolphins two weeks ago.
The point is simple. Gregory isn’t perfect but he doesn’t have to be. The Rams don’t have too many legit weaknesses on the team but edge defender is certainly one. There’s a lot of unproven talent and Michael Hoecht outside of Byron Young. That’s not going to cut it especially if an unforeseen injury occurs. The Rams have a good roster and are 2-2, they can certainly justify picking up Gregory for the cheap here.
In the end, the Rams aren’t stuck with just Gregory, this wouldn’t limit their ability to trade for an edge defender if they so choose. If anything, it’s a gift at this point in the year to find a talented and athletic pass rusher hit free agency. One important note is that Sean Payton and company have been shopping Gregory for a bit now and so there is a chance the Rams have already heard about him potentially becoming available.
This wouldn’t solve all the Rams issues but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself if adding Gregory to this roster as it stands right now makes this a better football team. I fail to see how it doesn’t make them better almost instantaneously. The fact he looked good before his season was cut short in almost the same type of scheme is telling that he could work with Raheem Morris today.