The Dallas Cowboys have made it one of their top priorities over the last few seasons to lock up their offensive linemen for as long as possible. Their attempts to reach a long term deal with right guard Zack Martin didn’t result in a contract extension signed, which means talks will be be held off until the next offseason.
Martin, perhaps the best interior lineman in the NFL, is heading into the fourth season of his rookie deal after another All-Pro year as part of perhaps the best O-line in the NFL. He’ll make $1.6 million in base salary and comes with a $2.8 million cap hit. The Cowboys have already exercised their 5th-year option on him, which will take his cap hit up to $9.3 million.
Obviously, Martin would like more job security than that, eyeing deals similar or slightly bigger than his line-mates. Tyron Smith signed a $97 million deal in 2014 that keeps him on the team until 2023. Travis Frederick is locked up until 2023 as well, signing a $54.6 million deal last year. La’el Collins is signed through 2019, after a two-year extension signed in this summer.
Martin, the 16th overall pick out of Notre Dame in 2014 (where he was a 2nd-team All-American), has played in all 48 regular season games for the Cowboys over the last three years, in addition to a couple of postseason appearances. The contract he was probably hoping to sign with the Cowboys now as similar to the five-year, $60 million deal penned by Kevin Zeitler with the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys do have cap space (unlike most seasons) with $9.9 million available, but seeing as they have him for two more seasons before they need to pay him really big money, it’s understandable why they didn’t give in to Martin’s demands. However, waiting one more season could end up costing more in the long run if Martin keeps his very high level. It’s hard to see them franchising him, although that’s probably a bit soon to predict too.