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.
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.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
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