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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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Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler

John Williams

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made

The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.

According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.

Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.

Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.

He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.

To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.

If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.

If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.

This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.

Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?



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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

Sean Martin

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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon's Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.

Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.

The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.

Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.

His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.

Last season,  Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.

The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.

Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi

I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.

Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.

If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Is Dak Prescott’s Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

John Williams

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Is Dak Prescott's Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

As the final whistle sounded last Sunday with the Carolina Panthers coming away victorious over your Dallas Cowboys, it was pretty clear there were a lot of things wrong with the offense. Many pointed to Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan and the play calling. Others to the offensive line. Others to Quarterback Dak Prescott. And others to the wide receivers.

There was plenty of blame to go around in an offensive performance that left Cowboys Nation struggling for answers. Simply put, there wasn't much good from that side of the football in their 16-8 loss. 

Well, as this week has gone on in preparation for the New York Giants Sunday night, there have been answers to questions from within the organization that make me, an outsider, feel really awkward about the relationships inside the organization. Particularly on the offensive side of the football. 

There was this from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan responding to Troy Aikman's critique of a lack of creativity in the play calling of Linehan.

"People have their own opinions. It's hard to be super creative when you're having loss-yardage plays, to be honest with you. But I thought we had some really good stuff for the game that we couldn't use. But he's entitled to whatever opinion he has about that. It's our job to go out and show him that we have some stuff that maybe he'll be impressed with."

Scott Linehan - via Jon Machota, Sports Day DFW

Then this from Wide Receiver Allen Hurns. 

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys WR Allen Hurns on loss to Carolina: "Statistically people are going to say we didn't play well. If you really break down the game, we created separation. That's what you want to do as a wideout.

With Dak Prescott speaking to the media on Thursday, some interesting nuggets of information came out about the communication that takes place on game day between Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, and Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Namely Dak described Kellen Moore as a "mediator" between the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.

“Kellen, I guess you call him the mediator at that point, when I come to the sideline. Me and him talk about what we saw and then he gets on the headset and he’s talking with Linehan. Then he’ll get back to me with what Linehan’s thinking with the plays and stuff that we’re working towards, so it’s been great.”

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback

Count 1310 The Ticket's Bob Sturm as one of many confused by Dak's statement about Moore as the go between.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

Thought it was really interesting to day that Dak said he talks to Kellen Moore and QB coach Kellen Moore talks to Linehan. Linehan doesn't talk directly to his QB during the game. I think that is weird.

It's becoming clear that there is a huge disconnect between the play caller and his quarterback and this disconnect is affecting everyone on the offensive side of the ball.  

Everyone, after one week, appears to be placing blame on someone else, which is really odd to me. Normally, when a unified group of players is asked a question that may lead to finger-pointing, they don't really answer the question.

Above, you can see that Hurns basically said, it wasn't the wide receivers' fault. Linehan, reacting to Troy Aikman's comments about the lack of creativity in the offense, placed the reason for the lack of creativity on the players. And Dak Prescott appears to allude to a really odd communication structure.

It has me wondering, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, if there is a trust issue with the Dallas Cowboys offensive staff and players.

Trust is a very important aspect of any group of people who work together to meet a common goal. Football is no different. As far as team sports go, the NFL requires a strong sense of trust and commitment to one another to make the intricacies of an NFL offense work.

As Preseason Begins, Does Prescott Have a "Go-To" Receiver After All?

Oct 8, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) congratulates wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) after a touchdown in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The coach has to trust that the player he's calling the plays for. If the play caller doesn't trust the players to execute, he's going to be much more conservative than he should be. A play caller who trusts his players will allow them to play and will be aggressive in his game planning and play calling. 

The player has to trust that the play caller is putting the player(s) in the best position possible to succeed. If the players don't trust the play caller, they aren't going to buy in to the offensive scheme. If they don't buy in to the offensive scheme then there may not be the necessary effort put in to see the scheme succeed. 

From the outside looking in, the relationship between quarterback and play caller seems fractured.  It's not a good sign for the relationship of the two men tasked with guiding this offense that there is a mediator involved in their communication. If there is an issue in the relationship that is leading to poor communication, then the Dallas Cowboys leadership structure -- Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett -- need to make a change to better enhance offensive communication.

They aren't going to change quarterbacks at this point in the season. The move they can make that Head Coach Jason Garrett appears unwilling to make, is changing who calls the plays. If the relationship between Linehan and Prescott is such that Kellen Moore needs to act as "mediator," then the time has come to change the play caller. Whether it's Moore who takes the reigns or Garrett who returns to calling plays, the change may need to be made soon to salvage this season. 

Trust is a very valuable resource in any organization. It's the reason that Jason Garrett has remained head coach for as long as he has. The ownership trusts him. 

The lack of trust that appears to exist between Dak Prescott and Scott Linehan is something that not only hurts their relationship, but the chemistry with the entire offense. 

Football may be the greatest team sport in the world. And as such it requires a high level of chemistry . It requires everyone on offense and defense buying into their respective schemes and trusting each other to execute those schemes. 

Obviously a win against the Giants would go a long way toward healing whatever wounds exist between Prescott and Linehan. A loss however could potentially deepen a divide between the quarterback and his coordinator.



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