Broncos head coach Sean Payton told reporters on Wednesday that the decision to part ways with Gregory was based on what’s best for the team and that if a trade partner doesn’t emerge, the veteran will be officially released within the next two days.
San Francisco apparently called after hearing opportunity knocking on the door. By acquiring Gregory, the 49ers hope to improve their pass rush, and so far in 2023, they have only nine sacks (22nd in the NFL). Improving those numbers is a huge boost for a defense that is allowing 284.3 yards per game (fifth in the NFL) and 14.5 points per game (third). Increased pressure elsewhere could also free up Nick Bosa, who has just one sack in four games.
Joining a top-five defense could also be beneficial to Gregory as he looks to revive his career.
Gregory, a second-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, has had an up-and-down career, with injuries and suspensions giving him a slow start in the NFL. Gregory had 15.5 sacks in his final three seasons in Dallas, helping him become one of the top free-agent pass rushers in the 2022 offseason, which is exactly what the Broncos were hoping for two years ago.
While Gregory never lived up to the high salary expectations placed on him in Denver, his fresh start might have been just what the doctor ordered.