Unsurprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys have exercised their option to add a fifth year to guard Zack Martin’s rookie contract. He is now signed through the 2018 season and will likely get a much longer contract extension in the near future.
The news was shared on social media by ESPN’s Field Yates, who also gave us the financial details of the option:
Source: the Cowboys have picked up G Zack Martin’s 2018 5th year option. It’s worth $9.341M.
Operating similarly to the NFL’s transition tag, the fifth-year option pays a player the average of the top-10 salaries at his position. Offensive linemen are treated as one entity, not separating tackles from guards and centers. This is a very nice deal for interior linemen as they tend to get less money in the open market.
The team option on rookie deals is exclusive to first-round draft picks. It has been in effect since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. It’s the primary reason that you don’t see teams trading out of the first round of the nearly as much as they used to.
For Zack Martin and the Cowboys this may simply be a formality. There is a deadline in early May to pick up the option so Dallas has to go ahead and do it now, even if they are planning to give Martin a long-term extension in the coming months.
The same happened last year with center Travis Frederick. Dallas utilized his fifth-year option in April 2016 but then Frederick agreed to an six-year, $56 million contract in August.
Negotiations between Zack Martin and Dallas should be fairly simple. Frederick’s contract set a standard that both parties will likely point to, with maybe a slight bump for annual inflation. I would expect Martin’s own long-term deal to be announced no later than the end of preseason, if not much sooner.