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Broncos releasing Randy Gregory; veteran pass rusher signed $70M free-agent contract in 2022

A rough start on defense in Denver has led to an early-season shakeup for the Broncos.

Denver is releasing pass rusher Randy Gregory, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday.

Pro Football Talk first reported the news.

Broncos head coach Sean Payton that it was a decision made based on what was best for the team and that it will become official in a 24-48 hours if a trade partner does not emerge. Payton clarified that Gregory did not request his release.

Gregory signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Broncos in March 2022. He played in just six games with the Broncos last season due to injury and a one-game suspension for a post-match fight. In four games in 2023, Gregory has generated one sack and nine tackles. Over 10 tilts in Denver, the 30-year-old netted just three sacks and 21 tackles.

Gregory saw his snaps reduced the past two weeks and was removed from the starting lineup in the Broncos Week 4’s win over Chicago.

A 2015 second-round pick by the Cowboys, Gregory had an up-and-down injury-filled first two seasons in the NFL before netting 15.5 sacks in his final three seasons in Dallas. He nearly re-signed with the Cowboys in 2022 -- the team even announced it -- before a contract hang-up led him to choose Denver.

NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero added that the Broncos had been trying to trade Gregory this week to no avail. Now they'll likely release the veteran, freeing reps for younger players. Nik Bonitto (3.5 sacks) and Jonathan Cooper (3.0 sacks) should see their reps increase with Gregory out of the mix. Payton said the contributions of the team's young pass rushers played a part in the decision to part ways with Gregory. The club also expects to get Frank Clark back soon after being out since Week 1 with a hip injury.

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