Cowboys trade defensive end Everson Griffen to Lions

©Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Everson Griffen huddles with teammates before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T; Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on October 19, 2020. - Smiley N. Pool/Dallas Morning News/TNS

FRISCO, Texas — It was a curiosity on Sunday after the Dallas Cowboys made a big deal about the return of defensive end Randy Gregory to see him play only six snaps in the 25-3 loss to Washington.

Gregory shouldn’t have to worry about limited reps going forward now that the Cowboys have traded veteran defensive end Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions.

Per sources, the trade is for a conditional sixth-round pick that could become a fifth-rounder.

Griffin, who had 2.5 sacks for the Cowboys after signing a one-year deal in August, will help bolster a 3-3 Detroit team that is looking to make a playoff push.

The Lions will pay Griffen’s $1.76 million in salary for the rest of the year, plus $187,500 for each game in which he is on the active roster.

Though disappointed with their 2-5 start, the Cowboys are not out of the NFC East race, as they are in a second-place tie with Washington behind the Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1).

Still, the Cowboys are realistic about where they stand as a team, and it made sense to make a deal that doesn’t hurt the present but could help the future.

Gregory played against Washington for the first time since 2018 due to an NFL suspension for repeated violations of the substance-abuse policy. He is a talented pass rusher who needs reps to knock the rust off and should only get better with playing time. He is under contract through 2021, while Griffen was on a one-year deal.

It also should open the door for more reps for rookie fifth-round pick Bradley Anae, who was made inactive against Washington to make room for Gregory.

Now, both should be on the game-day active roster getting reps and experience for more prominent roles in a Cowboys future that could also be without Aldon Smith, who leads the team with four sacks but is also on a one-year deal.

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©2020 Fort Worth Star-Telegram