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Should the Cowboys Consider Not Giving Zack Martin an Extension?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys' Eyeing Training Camp To Extend Zack Martin's Contract

Remember the 2014 NFL Draft? The Dallas Cowboys held the 16th overall pick, and as Roger Goodell walked up to the podium, we were all nervous about the possibility the words "Johnny Manziel, quarterback, from Texas A&M" were coming. It was a pretty fun moment. But fortunately, they didn't make that pick.

Instead, Dallas protected then-starting QB Tony Romo by drafting Zack Martin as the team's new right guard. Since 2014, Martin has been a first team All-Pro twice. The other two years he's been in the league, he's been a second-team All-Pro.

Simply put, Zack Martin has been the best offensive guard in the NFL since entering the league.

Almost four years after he was drafted by America's Team, Martin is heading into his last year under contract with the Cowboys. After picking up the fifth-year option on Martin's contract, the question has now become how will the front office handle negotiations when they discuss his extension.

For a long time, we've thought of Zack Martin's future extension as something that was inevitable; whoever they let walk in free agency, his deal's going to happen. But... what if it doesn't?

Maybe, just maybe, the Cowboys shouldn't prioritize his deal this season.

Sure, it sounds crazy. Who would let the best guard in football walk, just because? But getting Zack an extension will not be an easy task for the Cowboys.

Last year, Cleveland Browns' Guard Kevin Zeitler signed a $60M contract, which averaged $12M per year. Zack's deal is going to be even more expensive.

His contract will probably make him the highest paid guard in the NFL.

Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Dallas Cowboys Offensive Linemen (left to right) Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin

The Cowboys are already paying Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick a lot of money. Even if retaining #70 would mean that the NFL's best offensive line would remain the one in Dallas, is it worth it?

Truth be told, the Cowboys are a football team with a ton of needs on both sides of the ball.

This offseason's to-do list is a pretty large one for the front office. They need to find a way to keep David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence, Anthony Hitchens and maybe even add some free agent to come help this team. Who knows, they might even consider Earl Thomas' request and actually go get him. 

Let's say that they bring Jonathan Cooper back. This group would have Smith, Cooper, Frederick and Collins in their offensive line. Even without Martin, that's a very solid unit. Bring a decent guard to replace Zack, and you still have a good offensive line with an excellent running back and a mobile quarterback.

Could Zack Martin Be Traded?

One of the things that interests me the most, is this. If they decide not to give Martin his expected extension, is it possible they'd consider trading him? There would be no dead money at all and the Cowboys would free up more than $9M.

They could easily get a second-round pick and who knows, maybe even a first.

At a time in which the Cowboys need to add a lot of talent, it may be worth investing in other positions and be comfortable with a very good offensive line instead of the very best offensive line.

Ultimately, I think the deal will get done.

However, I don't think it would be a bad idea for the Cowboys to think twice.

It's nice to have one of the best offensive lines, but having three of the highest paid linemen in the league might end up hurting the Cowboys' cap space and their ability to improve the team.

Tell me what you think about "Should the Cowboys Consider Not Giving Zack Martin an Extension?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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23 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    This isnt even a question. The best guard in football, of course you resign him. Give him what he wants and move on. If you need money to make other moves than you do things like get rid of Crawford, Scandrick, Heath, Beasley. The draft is where you address positions you couldn’t keep in free agency

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I 100% agree in that you would first look for other options to free up in cap space. Even Dez Bryant could be in consideration, IMO. Just thought it would make for a fun discussion. Martin will get paid way more than any of those guys thought (except Dez). But yeah, I definitely think Zack will get paid

  • Junior

    Why is this a question

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Just thought it’s an interesting discussion.

  • Chris Veira

    So let me get this straight. Because of need you suggest the Cowboys not sign Martin just to create another need? Well that makes no sense whay so ever!

    • Michael Barthel

      EXACTLY STUPID LOL

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Well, Martin’s going to get a deal around $60M. Thought it would be an interesting topic to talk about, even though I think they will keep him. And it’s not me suggesting that Martin shouldn’t get an extension. It’s me discussing why it wouldn’t be as crazy as it actually sounds.

  • Michael Barthel

    This isn’t even a question. Zach Martin stays in Dallas. If they let him go they are stupid. Usually I really like your articles but this one not at all. Martin is easily our best offensive lineman. That’s like saying packers trade Aaron Rodgers when he was 26 and he’s the best qb in the league. If Dallas doesn’t resign him which I think they will I will never watch my beloved cowboys again cuz that just means they have clueless people running the show. Zach Martin worth more than a 2nd round pick he worth a 1st and 2nd round pick. No even considerable

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I’m glad you enjoy the articles, Michael. Just an interesting topic. I definitely think the deal will get done and the article is not me saying he shouldn’t be paid, just pointing out maybe it isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Thanks for reading!

  • Omar Gharbieh

    Some thoughts should remain just thoughts. Martin should be a priority on the same level as Lawrence

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I just think it’s an interesting discussion to have.

  • Carlos

    He is the Best guard. Pay him!

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Definitely think he will get paid

  • Steve

    Either you wanted to see what Boyz fanz think of Martin or you just got caught over thinking and I mean waaaaayyyy over thinking! Best gaurd IMO in the NFL and not only is his dependability, leadership and talent enough to drool over then comes the next article he had ZERO penalties in 2017! Yea that’s what I thought when they typed it ZERO! I don’t know how rare that is at the moment and I’m sure that it has happened be4, BUT in NO WAY do we think about trading or allowing him to walk!

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I definitely think he’ll stay in Dallas. And as I’ve said in various comments and on Twitter, this is not me saying “They shouldn’t resign Martin”, just wanted to point out that despite the fact that it’d be a crazy move, it makes sense in a way

  • Mike C

    Their are other players you can cut to create cap room. T.will, crawford, scandrick, a.morris, j.heath, swaim, and durant. And thats without even looking at the roster.

  • Terrell Perry

    I love your outside the box thinking. This would make sense…cap wise. I’m sure he is definitely worth a 1st round pick….easily. I would make that trade to sign the others like D-Law, Hitch and Cooper and draft another guard in the first round….if one is available.

  • Cris C. Dean

    Not a bad idea at all however this method may require the Cowboys to have to rethink multiple positions every 3 to 5 years … and that’s only if there’s players in a given draft possibly able to provide that kind of upside or potential – that being playing at a very very quality level but the pay scale being much lower due to few years in the league. That could be very risky!!

  • Jay Koehler

    Here is any interesting off-season topic…..NFL re-alignment. Indulge me for a moment: In the NFC I would have Dallas and Carolina swap divisions. And In the AFC (little bit more) take Miami out of east and place them in south, Take Indy out of south (to make room for Miami) and place in north. Baltimore would then take the place of Miami in the east. When you look at this re-alignment geographically it makes a lot of sense and would be beneficial to all parties. I know a large amount of people/fans will talk about rivalries but with the way players change teams EVERY year I feel new rivalries will take the place of older ones.

  • Kody Palmer

    This is a joke. It also lost any and all credibility when he said we drafted him 16th, and he’s the best guard in the NFL. So let’s get a 2nd round pick for him? What a joke

  • Bappi MA

    This kind of article gets written because the seasons over and people are searching for clickbait. Of course you keep ZM.

  • that guy

    U keep Martin at all costs. If u have to cut ties with someone u cut ties with dez or tyron smith. U move Martin or Collins to LT. U should be fired for considering letting go of the best guard/lineman in the league

  • Lance Thompson

    Cowboys always wait til players are has been to make trades….you can do a lot with a 1st rounder & 9 mil in cap space. Crawford was a horrible signing, scandrick has to be traded before he his worthless.. Beasley could bring a 3-5th rounder…heath a 7th….trade Prescott(he’s no tony ROMO) to browns for their 2 1sts…. Cooper Rush is a much better passer

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Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room

Sean Martin

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Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room 1

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their most impressive win of the season, keeping playoff hopes alive on the road with a 27-20 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering the hostile home of the defending Super Bowl champions with three previous road losses already on their record, the Cowboys performance on Sunday night was truly about getting back to their roots. In their second week with Marc Colombo as the Offensive Line Coach, the Cowboys rushed for 171 yards and protected Dak Prescott very well. It was revealed after the game that Frederick was on a coaches headset with Colombo and his new assistant Hudson Houck.

Jane Slater on Twitter

Travis Frederick just told @BenRogers on @1053thefan that Marc Columbo has him on a coaches headset now helping him and Hudson Houck. That's a smart move from Columbo. Smartest guy on the line

The anchor of the Cowboys offensive line since being drafted in 2013, Frederick is regarded as the smartest linemen on the team. It's his mental edge that's made up for a slight lack of size at the position, regarded as one of the worst first round picks in his draft because of this oversight.

Not only is Frederick a welcome addition to the Cowboys brain trust at offensive line, but he did receive some great news on his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) that's kept him out this season. Frederick was placed on injured reserve on October 6th, announcing publicly his GBS diagnosis on August 22nd.

Frederick has a long way to go before he's playing football again, not eligible to do so until week 14 at home against the Eagles. Regaining feeling in his hands is about the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee getting as healthy as possible away from football. If a return to the Cowboys is possible through his recovery, the team would of course welcome Frederick.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Travis Frederick regains sensation in his hands: "There is some light at the end of the tunnel" https://t.co/wvQhB6KUQp

What Frederick has gained in upper body strength, he must remain patient for in the lower body. While pointing out that over 95% of patients make a full recovery from GBS, Frederick is still waiting to feel sensations in his feet.

The Cowboys have been optimistic that Frederick's condition was caught early enough for a full recovery to be probable.

Dallas' schedule doesn't get any easier following their uplifting win. Returning to the site of last year's demoralizing loss at the Falcons, Frederick likely wishes he could make a miraculous return just a bit more this week.

To make matters worse, Left Tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday due to back spasms. It's unknown if rookie Connor Williams will reclaim his starting left guard spot on Sunday, or if Xavier Su'a-Filo has earned another opportunity.

Despite the patchwork nature of a Cowboys offensive line once regarded as the best in the league, and still vital to the entire team's success, Dallas has an abundance of hope that Sunday in Atlanta can be much better than 2017. This starts with Frederick's strength to fight GBS and attempt to rejoin his teammates, wisely given some added game day influence on them by Colombo.

If elevating their level of play up front was all it took for the Cowboys to play up to their potential and pull off an upset on prime time last week, the NFC East is certainly still within reach for a team that must now sustain the level of play on offense to match what this defense has given all season.

Tell us what you think about "Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys LB Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week Against Eagles

Jess Haynie

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Leighton Vander Esch
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

You already knew that Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker, had a great night last Sunday in Philadelphia. Apparently the rest of the football world agreed, and now he's been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

The award is the first of what could be many for Leighton, who has emerged as a defensive leader for the Cowboys. He's been playing more in the absence of veteran Sean Lee, who has been battling hamstring issues all season.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

THE. WOLF. HUNTER. Congratulations to #DallasCowboys rookie LB @VanderEsch38 on being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week! → https://t.co/XeSTt2tIpX

This is the second Player of the Week award for a Dallas Cowboys this season. Kicker Brett Maher won the Special Teams version in Week 4 after going 4-for-4 and hitting a game winner over the Detroit Lions.

The Defensive Player award hasn't gone to a Cowboys since Week of 2017, when DeMarcus Lawrence put up three sacks against the Arizona Cardinals.

Leighton's recognition is also well-earned. He led Dallas with 13 tackles and an interception in a pivotal road victory against a division rival. In what was arguably a "must-win" game for the Cowboys, their first-round pick stepped up and stood out.

A few more games like this, and Vander Esch could be in the running for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. But even above personal accolades, Leighton's play could help the Cowboys make a push in the NFC East.

If nothing else, he's making that first-round pick look smarter every week.



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Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott

John Williams

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Takeaway Tuesday: Prescott's Legs Give Offense a Much Needed Spark

Things have not gone well for Dak Prescott this season. His play has been up and down and he hasn't given the team or Cowboys Nation much reason to believe that he's the future at the quarterback position for the Dallas Cowboys. Speaking to 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas today, Legendary Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, Ring of Honor and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Roger Staubach offered support for the Cowboys current quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Staubach had this to say when asked about Dak Prescott.

Mark Lane on Twitter

Roger Staubach on @1053thefan said #Dak is a part of the problem with the #Cowboys offense, but he is not the problem.

Roger Staubach didn't start in the NFL until the third year of his career and thinks that's a good time for the quarterback to make the jump. At this point, we are 40 games into Dak Prescott's NFL career and we can see some of the things that he's good at as well as some of the things that he struggles with.

As Staubach points out, Dak Prescott has the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback, even if his play hasn't been what you'd want at the position. Roger admits that Dak shoulders some of the blame for the offensive woes of the last 16 games, but realizes that there are  many reasons for the Cowboys offensive failures this season.

Roger Staubach believes that the Dallas Cowboys can win with Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback despite some of the flaws that have crept up over the last 16 games. He's not wrong.

Staubach's pretty accurate in his assessment that there's been more good than bad. If you look at the first 24 games of Dak Prescott's career, he was really good. Through the last 16 games, he's struggled at times. So technically there's been more good than bad. The problem is that over the last 16 games, there's been more bad than good. The NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league and lately Dak hasn't done much. We can debate all day on how much of the struggles Prescott's faced are on him, but everyone should be willing to admit that some of the struggles are on him.

It's plausible that the confidence in Prescott that Jerry Jones has comes from Roger's belief that the Cowboys can win games with Dak Prescott at quarterback; and they have. In Prescott's career, the Dallas Cowboys are 25-15. Though wins are a team stat and not a quarterback stat, it just goes as evidence that Dak Prescott can be a winning quarterback in the National Football League.

Dak has some flaws, but the offense and its play caller haven't helped Prescott much this season. We should be critical of Prescott because he has a big pay day coming, if you believe Jerry Jones. While Dak has some flaws, he also has some traits that can make him a good quarterback in the NFL with the right coaching situation behind him. 2018 may be running out of time for the Dallas Cowboys and their playoff prospects, but the Cowboys have time before they have to make a decision on Prescott.



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