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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

23 Comments

  1. Travis Diggs

    January 7, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    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

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      January 7, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      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

  2. Junior

    January 7, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Why is this a question

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      January 7, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Just thought it’s an interesting discussion.

  3. Chris Veira

    January 7, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    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

      January 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      EXACTLY STUPID LOL

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      January 7, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      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.

  4. Michael Barthel

    January 7, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    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

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      January 7, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      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!

  5. Omar Gharbieh

    January 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm

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

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      January 7, 2018 at 6:39 pm

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

  6. Carlos

    January 7, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    He is the Best guard. Pay him!

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      January 7, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Definitely think he will get paid

  7. Steve

    January 7, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    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

      Mauricio Rodriguez

      January 7, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      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

  8. Mike C

    January 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    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.

  9. Terrell Perry

    January 7, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    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.

  10. Cris C. Dean

    January 8, 2018 at 1:54 am

    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!!

  11. Jay Koehler

    January 8, 2018 at 6:17 am

    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.

  12. Kody Palmer

    January 8, 2018 at 6:52 am

    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

  13. Bappi MA

    January 8, 2018 at 10:37 am

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

  14. that guy

    January 8, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    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

  15. Lance Thompson

    January 9, 2018 at 7:53 am

    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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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams

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Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.



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Cowboys Place WR Allen Hurns on IR, Promote Practice Squad Player

Jess Haynie

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Allen Hurns

We all knew that Allen Hurns' season was over after the ugly ankle injury he suffered last Saturday night against the Seahawks. The Dallas Cowboys made it official today, placing the receiver on injured reserve.

Hurns' spot on the 53-man roster will go to Lance Lenoir, who Dallas has called up from the practice squad for the second time this year.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Cowboys officially placed Allen Hurns on IR and called up Lance Lenior Jr. Cowboys signed WR Brandon Reilly to practice squad.

Lenoir was on the roster from Week 10 to Week 16 during Tavon Austin's injury. He was waived and returned to practice squad when Austin came back a few weeks ago.

Tavon's health may be why Lenoir is back on the roster. The veteran return man appeared to injure himself on his 51-yard punt return in the 4th quarter. Seattle punted it one other time after that play, and Cole Beasley fielded that one.

Lance Lenoir can both return kicks and do some of what Tavon Austin provided on offense.

His spot on the practice squad goes to Brandon Reilly, a second-year player who went undrafted in 2017 out of Nebraska. Reilly was with the Buffalo Bills as a practice squad player and was on the active roster in December of that year, but didn't make final cuts this season.

He also spent time on the Detroit Lions' practice squad this year.



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