At some point this offseason, Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin is expected to get a long-term contract with the team. As other NFL guards are getting paid this week, the likely value of Martin's deal is starting to become clearer.
Former Panthers’ G Andrew Norwell intends to sign with the Jaguars on a 5-year deal for $66.5 million, including $30M fully guaranteed, source tells ESPN. He is going to become NFL’s highest paid guard – $13.3 million average.
It's not just Cowboys writers who are paying attention to this market. Even Schefty couldn't resist making a connection between Norwell's new deal and the negotiations between Dallas and their own star guard.
Few people any happier this morning than Cowboys’ guard Zack Martin….he’s going to get paid.
Norwell, who is about a year younger than Martin, was a first-team All-Pro last season. He's never been voted the Pro Bowl, though, while Zack has been every year since he was a rookie in 2014.
You know Martin's agents will make that point to the Cowboys.
This isn't bad news, or even unexpected, from the team's standpoint. They already know that they will have to make Zack the highest-paid guard in the game. He's more than earned it.
Until that deal is reached, Martin is still secure as the Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. That provision, which is exclusive to first-round picks, has set Zack's 2018 cap hit at $9.3 million.
The good news for the cap-strapped Cowboys is that once they get Martin on a long-term deal, that cap number will actually go down. They are expected to immediately restructure the first year of the deal, as they did in 2016 with Travis Frederick, and could free up $6-7 million in cap dollars from where he is now on the one-year option contract.
The question now is matter of when, not if, Dallas and Zack Martin finalize his new contract. Andrew Norwell's deal likely sets the bar; he was generally considered the top guard in the free agent market.
Whenever Zack gets paid, though, that bar is likely going to move up.