Dallas Cowboys tougher player to replace: Amari Cooper or Randy Gregory?

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
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Randy Gregory will be harder for the Dallas Cowboys to replace

The conversation in regard to the bigger loss ultimately comes down to which player can you force production to. The answer is undoubtedly Wide Receiver. That, in itself, makes a WR easier to replace than a DE who is of similar or equal talent.

There are few things a defensive coordinator can do to help a pass rusher to get more heat on a QB. There are always, however, ways to get the ball into the hands of whichever WR you want. Screens, quick outs, slants, sweeps, etc. There’s a reason Cowboy fans and media alike were bothered at the lack of scheming certain pass catchers open. Like Amari Cooper.

Meanwhile, if it were equally as simple to create free runs at the QB for an EDGE rusher then everyone would be doing it. Sack and pressure rates would be through the roof. But it’s not always that easy. It’s a fight in the trenches unless an offensive lineman blows an assignment.

A defensive end with the ability of a guy like Randy Gregory is hard to come by. Pass rushers can impact every single play where a QB drops back. That isn’t the case for a pass catcher. Every pass attempt means a pass rush, which means opportunity.

But does every pass attempt mean opportunity for the pass catcher in his route? No, of course not. Pass catchers have to rely on so many things. The line holds up. The QB makes his reads. Makes an accurate throw.

Does he move away from a double team?

Is he flushed out of the pocked and forced away from the pass catcher?

Meanwhile, on any and every snap, here comes the pass rushers and if you don’t have dynamic guys who can apply pressure then it doesn’t even have to be an Amari Cooper caliber WR to kill your defense.

Remember the cardinal rule of football. It starts in the trenches. This is less about whether Coop is more valuable than Gregory or is Gregory more valuable than Coop. It’s not about the numbers, necessarily. It’s about how valuable pass rushers are compared to wide receivers.

Because of the simple value of coveted pass rushers vs. dime a dozen wide receivers, couldn’t you imagine Jalen Tolbert putting up Amari Cooper-esque numbers his rookie year? We’re talking 68 catches for 865 yards and 8 TDs. The touchdown production is lofty, but the rest is certainly reasonable.

On the other hand, do we see rookie 2nd rounder Sam Williams collecting six sacks, 29 pressures, forcing three fumbles and grabbing an INT? It’s honestly a little harder to fathom.

Another thing to keep in mind is the Dallas Cowboys willingly moved on from Amari Cooper in exchange for whatever you and I have in our pockets right now. Teams would rather put up with a Terrell Owens type over a guy who at times gives the impression that his heart just isn’t in the game or isn’t willing to put the team first.

Amari Cooper was the only player to complain to the media during the 2021 season. His effort is inconsistent, as seen in both a Raiders and Cowboys uniform. Pound for Pound, Coop and Gregory are relatively equal in talent, you could say. But desire separates them and that can’t be ignored. After all, one was a top 5 draft pick who’s now on his third team. There’s a reason for that.

Randy Gregory was wanted by the Dallas Cowboys. Not only was he a playmaker and at times a game changer on defense, but he also cared and is the kind of guy who competes against others and also against himself.

That’s how he made it to the point of drawing a first BIG contract after battling mental health issues in addition to the league’s blatant and well known apathy for such things. By fighting and overcoming. That’s the kind of guy you want and the kind of guy you don’t want to let get away. And the Dallas Cowboys didn’t want him to get away.

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Because of that, the Cowboys were happy to show Amari Cooper the door while trying to retain Randy Gregory. They knew which guy was more valuable to them.

What do you think Cowboys Nation? Who’s side are you on?