Zack Martin

Extra Points: Packers, Martin, Draft, Raiders

Bashaud Breeland‘s workout parade concluded in Green Bay, but his Packers contract is nearly its expiration. The veteran cornerback would re-enter the market in a better position, doing so a year after a golf cart-related injury harpooned his value. But Breeland, who said many teams would not medically clear him after his foot injury, would be interested if the Packers approached him about staying before he hit the market. Although, he said the Packers have not discussed an extension with him yet.

If I have the opportunity, I would,” Breeland said, via Ryan Wood of Packersnews.com, of a possible extension or offseason Packers re-signing. “At this point in time, the Green Bay Packers have first dibs because I’m here. They can make it happen at any moment.”

The Packers are not known as extravagant spenders but are keen on locking up their own talent. Breeland has only played in four Packers games, but on Sunday, the former Redskins starter recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a score. Both Tramon Williams and Davon House‘s contacts expire at season’s end as well, but the Packers still have recent high draft picks Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson and Kevin King locked up long-term. Next year’s cornerback market may include the likes of Darqueze Dennard, Ronald Darby, Bradley Roby and Bryce Callahan while also housing veterans Morris Claiborne, Kareem Jackson and Brent Grimes.

Here is the latest from around the league as Week 14 winds down.

  • Zack Martin re-aggravated his MCL sprain during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys‘ overtime win over the Eagles on Sunday, and Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes the All-Pro guard will likely be limited in practice this week. Martin has never missed a start in his five-year career, but MCL sprains are often multi-week injuries. The possibility Martin misses multiple games in order to right himself for an expected playoff game is on the table, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. If Martin does sit against the Colts, Connor Williams would start at right guard, per Archer.
  • So far, the prevailing word surrounding possible top-five pick Justin Herbert is another year in Eugene, Ore. But longtime evaluator Gil Brandt, now with NFL.com, tweets he would make substantial bet that the Oregon quarterback declares for the 2019 draft and becomes a top-five selection. Teams like the Giants, Jaguars and Buccaneers would likely be interested if Herbert left early.
  • Texas Tech wide receiver Antoine Wesley will depart school early. Responsible for 1,410 yards this season — third-most in Red Raiders history behind Michael Crabtree and Keke Coutee — Wesley announced Monday (on Twitter) he will leave Lubbock and head to the NFL.
  • Scot McCloughan could be a name to watch in the Raiders‘ GM or de facto GM search, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The former Redskins and 49ers GM interviewed with the Raiders for a position under Reggie McKenzie after the 2014 season, but Tafur notes McCloughan wanted personnel control. He then took Washington’s GM job before an ugly divorce. Jon Gruden and McCloughan’s tenures in Green Bay briefly overlapped in the mid-1990s, and Tafur notes McCloughan got along well with Jay Gruden in Washington.
  • The Broncos worked out 15 players on Monday. Defensive linemen Winston Craig, Jon Cunningham, Marcus Hardison and Christian Lacouture took part in the group audition, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Defensive backs Jude Adjei-Barimah, Sojourn Shelton and Henre’ Toliver joined linebacker Greer Martini in working out in Denver, per Klis.

Extra Points: Panthers, Rivera, Martin, Cowboys, Kaepernick

A lot of high profile coaches have been rumored to be on the hot seat this year, and while Ron Rivera’s name has certainly been mentioned, his job status has mostly flown under-the-radar. There was a report last week that new Panthers owner David Tepper could consider making “major changes” after the season, but other than that it’s been pretty quiet. Rivera let a couple of his assistant coaches go last week in an effort to help stabilize the crumbling defense, but his own job could very well be in danger.

The Panthers started the season 6-2 and were the toast of the league for a while, but have since lost five straight games. While Tepper is patient and has a good relationship with Rivera, if the losing streak continues Rivera very well may be fired after eight years with the team, according to Joseph Person of The Athletic. The team lost to the Browns today, and Cam Newton‘s play has declined sharply after a hot start. Reports this week have indicated he’s been dealing with lingering shoulder pain, which has undoubtedly contributed to the team’s struggles.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Cowboys guard Zack Martin suffered a scary looking knee injury in their overtime win over the Eagles, but it looks like he escaped major injury. Owner Jerry Jones said after the game that the team is “concerned” about the injury but that there doesn’t “appear to be any structural damage.” While it’s good news that his ligaments are alright, it sounds like he could still miss some games. Being without Martin for any period of time would be a major blow for Dallas, as Martin is one of the league’s best guards.
  • Colin Kaepernick would be very interested in joining the Redskins, sources told Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Kaepernick has been working out and the sources told Robinson that he’s in the “best shape of his life.” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said the team “discussed” Kaepernick, but wanted someone with more experience in their system. After Mark Sanchez melted down today and the team had to insert Josh Johnson it’s possible they reconsider, but still very unlikely.
  • In case you missed it, the Ravens could move on from John Harbaugh even if Baltimore makes the playoffs.

 

Injury Updates: Tannehill, Allen, Cowboys, Jaguars, Raiders

As expected, Ryan Tannehill is out again this week. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Dolphins quarterback will sit out Thursday’s game against the Texans. Brock Osweiler will once again slide into the starting lineup.

We heard recently that Tannehill’s injured shoulder wasn’t expected to sideline for an extended amount of time. ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe echoes that sentiment, tweeting that the quarterback could begin throwing sometime this week.

In five games this season, Tannehill has thrown for 972 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions. Osweiler has been solid in his place, throwing for 654 yards, six scores and two picks.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Bills quarterback Josh Allen is out again this weekend, reports ESPN’s Mike Rodak (via Twitter). Derek Anderson will slide back into the starting lineup one week after having thrown three interceptions in a loss to the Colts. Allen hadn’t looked a whole lot better through his first six NFL games, as he completed only 54-percent of his passes for 832 yards, two touchdowns, and five interceptions.
  • After having dealt with discomfort through the early part of the season, Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee today, reports ESPN’s Todd Archer (via Twitter). Fortunately, the 25-year-old is expected to be ready for his team’s next game against the Titans on November 5th. Gregory has compiled 10 tackles and one sack in six games this season. Meanwhile, Archer notes that right guard Zack Martin and tight end Geoff Swaim suffered sprained MCL’s this weekend, and there’s optimism that the pair will be back following the bye week.
  • Cowboys C.J. Goodwin broke his forearm during Sunday’s loss to the Redskins and will miss the rest of the season, reports ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter). The 28-year-old journeyman has collected a single tackle in two games this season. The Cowboys could be seeking some cornerback reinforcement for the bench behind Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis.
  • Jaguars linebacker Donald Payne suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain during Sunday’s loss to the Texans, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 24-year-old is set to miss the next three to four weeks, although the team’s upcoming bye week could reduce the number of games missed. In seven games this season, the second-year pro has compiled a single tackle. During Payne’s absence, Blair Brown or Lerentee McCray could see some snaps behind starting middle linebacker Myles Jack.
  • Raiders defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes is practicing with the team this week, reports ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez (via Twitter). Since the former third-rounder is on the PUP, he’ll have to be activated or placed on the injured reserve within the next three weeks. The UCLA product compiled 18 tackles in 16 games (13 starts) last season.

Cowboys Optimistic Travis Frederick’s Setback Not Season-Ending

Travis Frederick‘s become one of this generation’s best centers, but he’s encountered a rare obstacle in the form of an auto-immune disease. The All-Pro Cowboys blocker revealed the diagnosis on Wednesday and is out indefinitely.

The Cowboys are pleased Frederick finally received a diagnosis for what’s been bothering him this month, Guillain-Barre disease, and Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the team is optimistic this is not a season- or career-ending setback.

We were really so happy when it was diagnosed that this was the problem,” Jerry Jones said, via Hill. “He and we were concerned about that when we couldn’t get a diagnosis. The biggest thing we have been worried is his health, his long-term health, his individual well being as opposed to how it impacted us as a team or impacts him as a player but his well being is the most important thing.

“As it relates to football, I don’t have any definitive thing to talk about there.”

Frederick has begun taking medicine for this condition already, but he has no timetable for a return. A previous diagnosis revealed Frederick didn’t have Guillain-Barre, the sixth-year lineman merely needing rest. But once symptoms — centered around neck stingers — persisted and the accurate diagnosis emerged, per Hill.

Joe Looney has stepped in for Frederick at center. Looney’s in his third season with the Cowboys and has previously served as an interior-line backup. The Cowboys rely on their three-pronged force of 27-year-old linemen — Frederick, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith — but for the time being, Looney, also 27, will have to play with the starters. Looney made three starts last season and played in all 16 Dallas games. Hill adds Martin is an emergency option at center.

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NFC East Notes: Giants, Scandrick, Cowboys

The Giants expressed interest in cornerback Orlando Scandrick when he was released by the Redskins last week, but he landed with the Chiefs before New York could arrange a visit, tweets Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. New York is set at outside corner, where Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple will start, but could still use help at slot, which is where Scandrick has experienced the most success. At present, veterans William Gay and Leonard Johnson are the leading candidates to play inside for the Giants, but given their interest in Scandrick, it stands to reason Big Blue could consider further additions — either via the free agent or trade market, or through a waiver claim — in the coming weeks.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Zack Martin went down on Saturday night during the Cowboys‘ second preseason game, but the news is expected to be positive for the All-Pro guard. Martin likely suffered a hyper-extended left knee, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com, who adds Martin is expected to undergo an MRI on Sunday. Speaking to reporters last night, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Martin’s knee issue was not expected to be “problematic,” according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. However, given his injury, Dallas could hold out Martin from game action until the regular season begins.
  • While Martin is likely to escape a serious injury, Cowboys safety Jameill Showers wasn’t so lucky. Showers is believed to have suffered a torn ACL, tweets Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, and will have an MRI on Sunday to confirm. After entering the league as a quarterback in 2015, Showers transferred to defensive back, and has spent much of the past three seasons on Dallas’ practice squad. While he was far from a roster lock, Showers’ injury will further deplete the Cowboys’ defensive depth.
  • The Cowboys need to add another receiver, opines Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Dallas added free agent Allen Hurns and draft pick Michael Gallup to its receiving corps this offseason, but the position group as a whole hasn’t been overly impressive through two preseason games. While Watkins points to back-of-the-roster pass-catchers such as Noah Brown and Deonte Thompson as candidates for increased playing time, the Cowboys could conceivably look at free agents including Jeremy Maclin, Dontrelle Inman, or Brandon Coleman.

Details On Zack Martin’s New Deal

The Cowboys and Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin finalized the terms of his new contract on Wednesday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. As previously reported, it’s a six-year deal that will keep him in the fold through 2024. The new portion of the contract is worth a whopping $84MM with $40MM guaranteed. 

The new pact makes Martin the new highest-paid guard in the NFL as his $14MM/year tops Andrew Norwell‘s $13.3MM annual average value. Among offensive linemen, only Giants tackle Nate Solder has a higher per year average at $15.5MM. It’s a sign that the guard market is nipping at the heels of the tackle market and also an indication of just how valuable Martin is Dallas’ front five. His total guarantee is also the highest of any guard in the NFL.

Martin’s streak of 64 consecutive starts is the longest active streak by a guard in the entire league. Martin is also one of just four offensive linemen earn Pro Bowl selections in each of their first four NFL seasons since 1970 (Twitter link via ESPN).

The Cowboys have their excellent O-Line locked up for the foreseeable future. Martin is signed through 2024, left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick are under contract through through 2023, and right tackle La’el Collins is signed through 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys, Zack Martin Agree To Deal

Cowboys guard Zack Martin has secured a brand new deal, and it’s a whopper of a contract. The new pact is a six-year extension that will make him the highest-paid guard in the NFL with the largest guarantee of any guard in league history, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

[RELATED: Latest On Earl Thomas, Cowboys]

We’re still waiting on the exact terms, but this means that Martin has surpassed new Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell with more than $13.3MM in average annual compensation. Martin has also bested Norwell’s $30MM in full guarantees at signing.

“We think he’s one of the best offensive linemen in the league,” Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones said recently“Certainly we think the best offensive guard in the league (and) should be paid accordingly.”

With a new deal in hand, the Cowboys can expect Martin to show for work on Tuesday when the team’s minicamp gets underway. They’ll also enter the 2019 offseason without fear of losing Martin to another team on the open market.

The Cowboys have the key pieces of their world-class offensive line locked up for years to come. Martin is signed through 2024, left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick are under contract through through 2023, and right tackle La’el Collins is signed through 2019.

The next order of business for the Cowboys could be to work on a new multi-year deal for edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence. However, Lawrence says he is willing to play on the one-year tag in order to cash in on the 2019 free agency market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys, Zack Martin Nearing Extension

[UPDATE – Martin and the Cowboys reached agreement on a record-breaking extension]

It appears a new deal for Cowboys guard Zack Martin is on the horizon. Speaking at the team’s rookie luncheon, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones insinuated that the club is on the one-yard line in talks. 

It’s awfully close. I hope he’ll be out at (minicamp) tomorrow,” Jones said (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News).

A new deal for Martin should place him among the league’s highest paid guards, or possibly make him the highest-paid guard in the league. Martin, who has made the Pro Bowl in each of his four NFL seasons, may top new Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell‘s five-year, $66.5MM deal to make him the kingpin of interior linemen. Even if he falls short in total value, it’s hard to imagine that Martin’s average annual value will be much less than Norwell’s $13.3MM per year.

For now, the 27-year-old (28 in November) is on the books for $9.341MM, per the terms of his fifth-year option. If Martin does not sign an extension and turns in another outstanding season, he’ll be in line for a bidding war on the open market next year. That’s a risk the Cowboys are not interested in taking, particularly with DeMarcus Lawrence in a similar position.

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Latest on Cowboys, Zack Martin

Although no deal is done, the Cowboys and All-Pro guard Zack Martin appear to be inching closer to an extension. Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones spoke to the media recently and offered some details on the negotiations with Martin’s camp.

Jones revealed that he’s met with Martin’s agent, Tom Condon, within the last two weeks. While he said there’s no timeframe for a deal, he’s confident one will get done.

“We think he’s one of the best offensive linemen in the league,” said Jones (via ESPN’s Todd Archer). “Certainly we think the best offensive guard in the league (and) should be paid accordingly.”

Jones added that the holdup was just a “matter of structures.” In the meantime, while there remains no deal, Martin continues to be absent from OTAs.

Jones’ assertion that Martin is the best guard in the league and should be paid “accordingly” seems to suggest Martin will receive more than Andrew Norwell, the league’s highest paid guard. Norwell signed a five-year $66.5MM contract with the Jaguars back in March. His $13.3MM annual salary was the highest ever for a guard, but that might not last for much longer. Martin, who has anchored the Cowboys’ dominant offensive line the past several seasons, should reset the market for interior offensive linemen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Expect Zack Martin Extension This Offseason

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.

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