The Dallas Cowboys announced on the team's social media accounts Tuesday morning that Gregory had agreed to a deal to return to the team, but multiple Broncos sources later confirmed that he instead is joining Denver. The deal is the same in basic construction: five years, $70 million, with $28 million of guarantees largely coming in the first two years.
A source told ESPN's Ed Werder that the salary-forfeiture language the Cowboys include in player contracts that led Gregory to back out of his agreement is standard for them but not commonly used by other teams. The Cowboys now have "high interest" in Von Miller depending on his financial expectations, the source said.
The clause Gregory objected to -- voiding his contract if fined/suspended for any drug offense or violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy -- was not included in his previous Cowboys contract and also wasn't mentioned in Monday's contract talks, which lasted until midnight, a source told Werder. When questioned about the clause, the Cowboys said that it is included in every Dallas player contract but Dak Prescott's, the source told Werder.
The Broncos had done extensive due diligence on Gregory's past suspensions before free agency opened, and the team's personnel department had graded Gregory as one of the top edge rushers available. The team had negotiated throughout Monday with Gregory's representatives in hopes of a deal.
Denver also agreed to re-sign linebacker Josey Jewell to a two-year, $11 million contract Tuesday, a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Broncos general manager George Paton said at the NFL scouting combine that Jewell is "completely recovered'' from the torn pectoral he suffered in Week 2 last season.
Gregory, 29, joins Bradley Chubb as the starting outside linebackers in the Broncos' 3-4 defense. The Broncos are hopeful that Gregory can continue his career resurgence.
Because of a variety of injuries and suspensions, Gregory has never started more than 11 games in a season nor finished with more than six sacks.
His change of heart isn't the first time the Broncos have lured a free agent who appeared to be headed elsewhere late in the process. In 2014 they finished the terms on a deal with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders' representatives while Sanders was at the Kansas City Chiefs' complex on a visit.
That was also the year the Broncos signed DeMarcus Ware, who had been released by the Cowboys. Like Ware, Gregory wore No. 94 with Dallas.
Gregory's signing and the trade for quarterback Russell Wilson give the Broncos two of the most impactful moves in the league over the past two weeks.
After missing two full seasons and 14 games in another because of suspensions for multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy, Gregory became one of the Cowboys' best pass-rushers and was added to the players' leadership council by head coach Mike McCarthy in 2021.
Gregory made a career-high 11 starts last season, missing time because of a calf strain and COVID-19. He had 19 tackles, a tackle for loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception, while matching his career high with six sacks.
The Cowboys selected Gregory in the second round of the 2015 draft after off-field issues hurt his status. After missing most of the 2016 season and all of 2017, Gregory put up six sacks in 14 games during the 2018 season, missing two matchups for injury.
He was suspended for the full season in 2019 and the first six games of 2020, but the Cowboys remained loyal to Gregory, signing him to a one-year extension.
For his career, Gregory has 16.5 sacks in 50 games.
ESPN's Todd Archer contributed to this report.