The Cowboys and Zack Martin have been circling each other for a while now, and the All-Pro guard decided to skip OTAs this week. However, Albert Breer of SI.com notes this doesn’t appear to be a contentious absence, adding the Cowboys expect to have this deal done before the regular season. This promises to be an eye-opening agreement.
Dallas expects to pay Martin at least $13MM per year. While only five linemen earn that, one of them is a guard. And as good as Andrew Norwell has been, Martin’s a more accomplished player with four Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro distinctions on his resume.
So, it’s likely Martin’s deal will come in north of Norwell’s $13.3MM-per-year pact and set the market for guards, with Breer pointing out teams aren’t going to see 2018 deals for Norwell and Nate Solder as outlier pacts based on free agency but instead will view them as the norm in a changing marketplace. Quality linemen are simply more valuable now since these particular skills are much harder to acquire out of college.
The Cowboys view Martin as the game’s premier pass-protecting guard and a player who is close to the top in clearing run lanes, per Breer, so they’re eager to ensure he’s under contract well into the 2020s.
Martin, 27, is on Dallas’ books for $9.341MM because of his fifth-year option, and the Cowboys already have a significant negotiation to finish with Demarcus Lawrence. While Lawrence said he would be fine playing on the franchise tag, that is affecting the Cowboys’ books. The defensive end’s cap hold sits at $17.143MM — second-highest on the team behind Tyron Smith.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.