Cowboys, Zack Martin Having Contract Problem While Team Pays Its Top Cornerback

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Timing may not be everything to everyone, but it matters. And right now the Dallas Cowboys and perennial Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin are having what boils down to a timing problem.

Martin, you see, has decided to sit out the start of Dallas Cowboys training camp because he and the team are in a contract dispute. And that dispute’s major issue is all about timing.

It’s not that the Cowboys don’t value Martin. They do.

It’s not that Martin isn’t great at what he does. He is.

Zack Martin is holding out from Cowboys training camp in hopes Jerry Jones give him a new deal.
Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys at the line of scrimmage during the first half of a game on Thanksgiving Day against the Buffalo Bills at AT&T Stadium on November 28, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. The Bills defeated the Cowboys 26-15. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Zack Martin Wants To Renegotiate Deal

It’s just that the sides agreed on all that and signed a mega-contract extension in 2018 that set the standard for what guards were paid – at the time.

Martin’s deal averages $14 million per season and that was at the top of the guards class then.

But it is (checks calendar) 2023 now.

And there are seven guards averaging a higher annual salary than Martin. Indianapolis left guard Quenton Nelson and Atlanta left guard Chris Lindstrom are both averaging $20 million per season.

Martin’s $14 million a year annual average has not aged well. Predictably.

So Martin wants an updated deal. Predictably.

Cowboys, led by Jerry Jones, agree to contract extension with Trevon Diggs.
Trevon Diggs of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after an interception during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at AT&T Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Cowboys Agree To Trevon Diggs Deal

The problem is the Cowboys want Martin to abide by the contract he signed. The one that is scheduled to pay him $1.7 million in base salary this year, per Overthecap. And the one that has two years remaining.


That’s the reason Martin did not fly with the team to Oxnard, Calif., for the start of training camp. He has apparently undertaken a textbook contract holdout which would result in him being fined for every day he misses.

To make matters more interesting, the Cowboys on Tuesday afternoon agreed on a sizeable five-year contract extension with cornerback Trevon Diggs worth $97 million, a source confirmed to OutKick. The deal includes a $21.5 million signing bonus.

I’m told Martin is thrilled for teammates getting their deserved contracts. But he has taken note of the club paying a big contract while apparently standing its ground on his contract renegotiation request.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants Zack Martin to play under his current contract.
Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during pregame for a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on August 13, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Jerry Jones, Cowboys Hold Firm On Martin Deal

And that really is what it is. A request.

Because Martin has little leverage other than holding out and even threatening to sit the year out — the latter of which has not yet happened.

Martin is under contract. At least that’s the line Cowboys owner and Jerry Jones is taking on the matter.

“This isn’t reflective of Zack. It’s just that you have to rely on the integrity of your contract,” Jones told reporters Tuesday morning.

This is fair. And it isn’t.

The Cowboys don’t rely on the integrity of contracts when they decide to release some players or ask them to take pay cuts.

Fact is both sides — players and management — often ask to rework deals they’ve previously signed.

So the sides are “talking” per an NFLPA source. But the same source suggested this would not be an issue if Martin and his representation hadn’t done such a long deal.

Those deals, the source said, often don’t hold up after three or four years.

So, yes, this is about timing.

Follow on Twitter or X or whatever: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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