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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 @PepoR99 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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BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year

Mauricio Rodriguez

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David Irving

For the second consecutive year, Defensive Lineman David Irving is being suspended for four games by the NFL. This time, the suspension comes after Irving violated the NFL's policy on substance of abuses, as Ian Rapoport reported.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DL David Irving is being suspended 4 games for violating @NFL policy on substance of abuses, sources say. Another big-time D-linemen hit with a suspension for Dallas.

Irving will play for the Dallas Cowboys after the team placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the year. Why no team was interested in picking such a talented defensive tackle for a second round pick is becoming clearer and clearer as the time goes on.

In April, when David Irving got hacked by his former girlfriend one of the tweets that stood out the most was one which said "Wait until you all find about his failed drug tests." Now, we're seeing what the tweet was about.

Irving is a very talented player that could have a great career ahead of him. Of course, with this being the second consecutive year in which he receives a suspension to start the season, one could question how much he wants it.

The Cowboys will play the Panthers, Giants, Seahawks and Lions to start the season. They'll have to do it with one of their most promising defensive players in David Irving.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll keep you updated with this story and every Dallas Cowboys news.

Tell me what you think about "BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!



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Jason Witten’s Lasting Message to Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

Sean Martin

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Cowboys 2016 Draft Class: Who Will Be The Stand Out In 2017?
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When Dallas Cowboys legend Jason Witten retired from the NFL last month, he left behind an unproven group of tight ends for the Cowboys to field as Witten moves on to the Monday Night Football broadcast booth. This is not a TE group short of potential, although that's nothing new for the laundry list of players that have failed at the position behind the Hall of Fame bound Witten.

Headlining this group of potential heirs to Witten has to be 2016 draft pick Rico Gathers. Not yet given the same opportunities that Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin are receiving through the Cowboys ongoing mini camp, Gathers has been criticized for his commitment to his team.

Looking to make the transition from the basketball court at Baylor to the football field, Gathers' journey began at Witten's soon-to-be home forever. Playing his first organized football game since middle school, Gathers and Witten were teammates in the Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio in 2017.

A game rarely leaving fans with a lasting memories, Gathers immediately flashed potential in the passing game, hauling in three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Gathers would go on to spend the season on IR after a concussion suffered in practice, recovering from it in time to return but never seeing the field.

This leaves Gathers' prospects of putting it all together in year three at a difficult crossroads. It will be hard to question Gathers' commitment moving forward, as the message from his former teammate Jason Witten still lives with him.

Jason Witten's Lasting Message to Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

If Witten truly sees a "bright future" for Rico Gathers, who Head Coach Jason Garrett says needs work in the running game, there is no reason the Cowboys can't find a role for him this season. With an entirely unproven group of wide receivers, Gathers could be the reliable mismatch for Dak Prescott to target in the middle of the field.

Prescott was the ninth worst quarterback in the league last season in red zone completion percentage, surely something the 6'6" TE Gathers could help improve.

Gathers may be a long way off from becoming Prescott's version of Witten to Tony Romo, but there is still hope for the 2016 draft pick, according to now football analyst Jason Witten.

Tell us what you think about "Jason Witten’s Lasting Message to Cowboys TE Rico Gathers" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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David Irving to be Present at Dallas Cowboys Minicamp

John Williams

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Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving

David Irving has been a notable name throughout the offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, for both on the field and off the field headlines. First, his RFA tender had fans and analysts wondering just what the Cowboys would do with him. Many, myself included, thought placing anything lower than a first-round tender on the stud defensive tackle would mean he was collecting sacks for someone else in 2018.

Thankfully, the Dallas Cowboys' gamble paid off and they were able to save some money by only having the second-round tender applied to 2018.

Then came the accusation of domestic violence from his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, catching us off-guard just before OTAs began in May. Which was then retracted not long after the initial report.

After all of that had quieted down, most of the talk revolved around David Irving not being in shape for OTAs. Not having been around for much of the offseason work the last several weeks before OTAs would keep Irving from working out.

He's had a lot going on in his life lately away from the game of football, and understandably so. As a father to a young child, I can see how you'd get distracted from your job when family stuff comes into play that affects the well-being of your child.

On the football side of things, at least, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Today, it's being reported that David Irving will in fact be present for this week's mandatory minicamp.

Brandon George on Twitter

Also, the Cowboys expect DL David Irving to participate in the 3-day mandatory minicamp that begins today at The Star, a source said. The Cowboys could have both Irving and RG Zack Martin back on the practice field if Martin's contract extension gets finalized this morning.

You may be asking yourself, "what's the big deal? Irving isn't Aaron Donald."

Well, you're mostly right.

Perhaps next to Donald, David Irving was the most disruptive interior player in the NFL last season. David Irving had seven sacks in the eight games he played in.

Read that again. Seven sacks in eight games. That would be 14 sacks over the course of the season if that pace were to continue to play out.

Aaron Donald had 11 sacks in 2017.

Pro Football Focus rated David Irving as its third best pass rusher among interior defensive linemen.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Dominant interior defenders.

To go along with Irving's seven sacks in eight games -- every time I read that I'm floored -- he recorded six passes defended. That was good for second in the NFL at the defensive tackle position and was second on the Dallas Cowboys.

Again, in only eight games played.

Even if you were to pace out his tackle numbers over 16 games, they aren't very spectacular -- 26 solo and 18 assisted -- but he'd still finish in the top 30 among defensive tackles.

Only two other players in the NFL had seven or more sacks and six or more pass breakups; New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan and Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End Carlos Dunlap. Both of those guys played in all 16 games and, while I hate to keep bringing this up, Irving only played in eight.

He's an elite interior defender who has only gotten better since joining Rod Marinelli and the Dallas Cowboys.

If he's able to get his personal life in order -- and that most assuredly comes first -- he's going to be a wrecking ball for the Dallas Cowboys defensive line.

Getting Zack Martin's contract extension completed was probably the most important task of the summer, but getting David Irving back into the practice fold is a close second.

With him and DeMarcus Lawrence coming off a tremendous 2017, the sky is the limit for those two in 2018.

With all the improvement that was made on the defensive side of the ball, I can't help but think of the sign that Greg Hardy paid for several years ago.

"Sacks Comin'."



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