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Cowboys Restructure G Zack Martin’s Contract, Create $8M in Cap Space

The Dallas Cowboys have done some financial reworking as of late. A few weeks ago, they restructured Tyron Smith’s deal by converting $8.9 million of his base salary into a signing bonus, adding an additional $7.1 million in cap space with the voided year added. Now, as the season is set to begin on Sunday, the Cowboys are creating more financial flexibility.

Zack Martin, who signed a six-year, $84 million dollar extension in 2018, is having his deal restructured to create $8 million in cap space according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

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More early season accounting: The #Cowboys restructured G Zack Martin’s contract to free up $8M in cap space, source said, and push money into the future.

The Cowboys are converting $10 million of Martin’s $11 million dollar base salary for 2020 into a signing bonus. With this move, the Cowboys currently have $17.5 million in cap space entering the new season.

Many will assume that this restructure is geared towards signing All-Pro free agent Safety Earl Thomas. However, that’s not the Cowboys thinking here. While they’re still interested in Thomas to some degree, this move is more about having cap space in 2021, and more importantly, finally securing a long-term deal with Quarterback Dak Prescott.

The salary cap floor for 2021 is set to be around $175 million because of the potential revenue losses due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Prescott will play under the franchise tag for $31.4 million this season which will go up to $37.7 next season if he’s tagged again.

This was definitely some strategic financial maneuvering by the Cowboys here.

What do you think?

Matthew Lenix

Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.


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  1. I understand wanting to create as much cap space as possible for the likely cap decline next year. I just hope Zack can stay healthy (knee and back) so we don’t seriously regret this move. They already did the same thing with Tyron’s contract and he’s got even more injury concerns than Zack (elbow, knee and back). They’re setting themselves up for a really rough time if those two can’t get/stay healthy. They’d better hope their depth develops.

    As for doing these moves to make room for a long term contract for Dak. He’d bloody well better earn it this season. Better accuracy, better timing on throws (a lot less of WR’s having to stop or reach waaay back to reel in passes on crossing routes), better pocket awareness (throw the dang ball or pull it down and run instead of taking sacks 6+ seconds after the snap), no more slow starts where he looks like he just woke up and is struggling to get his bearings, etc.

    If he looks like last year, there’s no way he should be the highest paid (or even close) QB. Re-sign Dalton and roll with him and Dinucci plus another drafted QB next year.

  2. Zack Martin has played in 94 of a possible 96 games in his career. Health isn’t a issue for him. If Dak looks like last year? You mean when he was second in passing yards? Or when he was the most accurate deep ball thrower in the league percentage wise? Saying they should resign and roll with Dalton and DiNucci doesn’t make any sense.

  3. Zack was hobbled much of last year with the knee and back problems. Yes, he fought through them, most of the time, and played well. But, it doesn’t mean they don’t flare back up or get worse going forward as more wear and tear build up.

    As for Dak, opinions vary. You saw what you saw, I saw what I saw. I saw a guy getting bailed out too often and WR’s taking flack for drops when it was all they could do just to get a hand on his passes. I saw guys having to stop momentum to wait on passes instead of being able to catch it in stride and get even more YAC.

    Volume stats as a measure of how good a player is leaves a lot on the analysis table. Who was Dak number two in yards behind? Oh, that’s right…Jameis Winston…current backup QB for the Saints. Do honestly think Jameis is a better QB than Dak? If so, bring him in. He’d still be 1/2 to 3/4 the price of Dak.

  4. The Cowboys had more drops than any team last season. How is that Dak’s fault? So your “WR’s taking flack for drops” is pretty irrelevant. No QB had a higher completion percentage over 20 yards than Dak in 2019 so again the accuracy issue point is completely overblown. Also, no QB was rated higher in the second half of games then he was. But you believe what you want, I’ll stick with the facts. Have a good one.

  5. Matthew Lenix he saw the same game we saw. Not sure what the census is Dak isn’t accurate when all the numbers debunked the myth. Best completion percentage in the pocket at 70%, beat deep ball passer, 2nd most MONEY throws out of all QBs, 2nd in yards, 4th in QBR, and etc. Best QB 4th quarter and etc. I understand not liking the kid, but you can’t hate what he has done. Especially, last season!!!

  6. Also, restructuring isn’t anything special. All it does is give most of guaranteed base salary as a signing bonus. However, it will hurt on the back end. The reason Romo had the biggest cap figure for 3 consecutive years becauae of constant restructuring.

  7. Matthew, you may want to re-check that stat about Cowboys having the most drops last year. Just not true, and I have seen that statement from other authors here. Not a good look overall. Please comment to clear that up for accuracy sake, thanks. Also, saying “health is not an issue” for Martin is an assumption. Every NFL player is an injury risk at any point in time. Lonewolfz28 brings up good points that I have brought previously. I predicted these gyrations having to be made for Prescott. I just hope Prescott can improve on his negatives going forward to help us WIN GAMES..

  8. I certainly see both sides. While I’ll agree that Dak is not Brees/Rodgers/Brady accurate, if he were he would be a top 3 QB in the league. But what he is and what he brings to the table still makes him one of the better QBs in the league, and without him the Cowboys have zero chance to go to the SB. I find it hard to believe that anybody could really believe Dalton is the answer long or short term for this team. Contract aside without Dak we would be lucky to make the playoffs. Dalton at QB would be like giving me the keys to an INDY car and asking me to win the Indianapolis 500. Be a waste of a fine piece of machinery.

  9. i am seeing different drop numbers from different websites. Hard for me to find definitively. You may be right. If so, my apologizes.

  10. Agreed Gary b, Dalton is not a long term answer, and short term is bogus now, as Prescott is playing for at least this year. Do you have a prediction for the upcoming Rams game? I think it will be very important as it will set the tone and mindset. A lopsided victory will give us great momentum moving forward. Conversely, a lopsided loss, with all the hype surrounding our team, would be a bad bump in the road. Thoughts?

  11. I’m no Nostradamus so I’ll stay away from the predictions. The Rams are a quality team, so I would be surprised to see a blow out either way. I don’t think a win or loss will define either teams season, but in a 16 game season every win is precious. I would be happy just to manufacture any kind of win. The way this team is presently constructed (loaded) and the potential loss of several key players after this yr tells me this could very well be our best chance to win a SB for a while.

  12. To that person who referenced J Winston consider that he had 30 interceptions last yr which was the most since 1980 (That’s 61 yrs) He Also had (7) pick 6s (an all time NFL record). Not a very good comparison to Dak, not even for half the price.

  13. Wrong on this one Gary … the context of the Winston comp was dead on! Interceptions and other stats be damned because the writer tried to lift Dak by using sheer passing yards as his measure In his argument, hence Winston is a viable comp and validated Wolfz’ point perfectly.

  14. finally finally after so many years of dead money they may be getting the hang of this financial cap and looking towards emergencies and or the future…….bravo! though it is about time

  15. Nope sorry Ghost but u can’t just throw Winston’s name out there as comparison and then discount 30 interceptions including (7 ) pick 6s when making the comparison. Ur wrong about me being wrong….if there is even a wrong here.

  16. The Cowboys need to restructure other contacts as well. Lawrence, Elliott, Smith, Cooper and Collins. No one on this team has shown that they deserve these contacts.

  17. But the writer discounted all of Dak’s negative stats! He simply scolded at Wolfz for dismissing Dak as the leagues No.2 passer in the league and specifically cited the yard passing as his measuring stick, so Wolfz proved the error in his logic/argument. Stand where you wish, but it’s blatantly obvious to all those who read it in context. Moving on …

  18. Totally agree with Wolfz. Dak has the perfect chance to show us all if he has the “it” factor or not this year. There are absolutely zero obstacles or excuses. Go beat the best teams and make a deep playoff run or fall short and disappoint. Either way, the question gets answered this year.

    By my count, we play 4 teams with 10 or more wins last year. Dak couldn’t beat these best teams last year, and his stats were starkly worse in those games. The best predictor of this team’s success and ability to win a SB is how they perform against the best teams. Beating up on the Giants, Redskins, Cleveland and Cincinnati means pretty close to nothing.

    Go Cowboys!

  19. I’m not sure anything here is blatantly obvious, nor can u assume to speak for all the readers that are capable of interpreting on their own. Seems to be no middle ground when it comes to Dak. His detractors will go to great lengths to tear him down, and I suppose his supporters will do the opposite. Marcus I agree with most of what u said, but will add that this is a “team game” Dak doesn’t win games the team does. Our team is reliant on all players doing their part, not just Dak, We win and lose as a team! Though I will say that the QB probably has the most impact on wins and losses. (which is why QBs are a precious commodity in the NFL) I’m well aware of what Dak weaknesses are and You’ll never hear me say Dak is a great QB, but given our options (which are bleak) I just think he gives us the best chance to win a SB in the near future. That’s really what it comes down to for me. In many ways Dak is in a no win situation. If he wins people will say anyone could win with this talent, if he loses people will say ” I told u so”. Personally I’m not interested in told u so or being right. I’m interested in winning. If Dak has success then our team has success, and that’s all I really care about… yea I’m rooting for Dak to do well. With all that said yea this is absolutely a “show me” yr for Dak.

  20. He ain’t worth no damn 40+ million a year POINT blank period…we can get an AVERAGE QB with the weapons we have and have similar stats who would be willing to play for 25million a year..

  21. You really want the Dallas Cowboys to have an avg. QB? If u doubt the importance of a quality QB look around the league and see how many great (or even good teams) have an avg. one. I’ll wait on ur answer. As John stated regarding Dak contract, that’s just what the market dictates. If we don’t give it to him, someone else will. If Dak takes us deep in the playoffs I’m sure fans will be ok with paying him. If he doesn’t then rightfully so they won’t. There was a time when we had a chance to sign him much cheaper, but for whatever we didn’t. Now as QB salaries have escalated, we will be forced to pay him more then perhaps he is worth. Sucks but that’s where we’re at.


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