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Cowboys News: How Zack Martin Saved The Cowboys From Johnny Manziel

Latest Cowboys headlines: Zack Martin's biggest impact on the Cowboys may have been on draft day; WRs the Cowboys should target; whither Tony Romo?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Why Cowboys guard Zack Martin is the one NFL MVP candidate no one's talking about - Will Brinson,
Brinson extols the virtues of Zack Martin at length and with lots of film, but Martin's biggest impact may have been saving the Cowboys from Johnny Manziel.

According to this Austin Murphy profile of the younger Jones at Sports Illustrated from earlier this month (which somehow flew under the radar), Jerry was absolutely trying to wrangle support for Manziel.

"So there we were, staring at Johnny and Zack Martin," Stephen says. Jerry went around the table trying to wrangle support for Manziel, but he came up empty. "Lonely is the right word," Jerry says. "I don't think there was another soul in the room" who shared the owner's enthusiasm for Johnny Football. Instead, Jerry suggested his team trade out of the pick. "But no one was calling to trade," explains Stephen. By this time the boss "was not happy," says the son. Exasperated, Jerry finally asked, "So no one in this room wants to take Johnny Manziel?"

"There wasn't a peep," says Stephen, who told his old man, "Dad, we need to take Zack."

The rest is, of course, history. Manziel flamed out of the NFL and Martin went on to become a key part of a dominant offensive line and looks set to receive a huge contract and spend a long time playing with a really young and talented Cowboys team.

Without the Martin draft selection, the Cowboys as we know them heading into 2017 -- young and stacked for the future -- don't exist at the same level. Martin shifted the course of the Cowboys franchise both on and off the field. If that's not the true sign of a player's value, I don't know what is.

Stephen Jones following in shadow cast by father Jerry - Austin Murphy,
More on how the Cowboys almost committed suicide by Manziel.

Jerry Jones was smitten with the Heisman-winning Texas A&M quarterback. But the men Jones had hired to help him make those decisions? Not so much.

"If you’re scared [of Manziel]," one Cowboys executive joked to Stephen, one of those draftniks, "then I’m really scared."

"I’ll never forget that morning," recalls Stephen. "Jerry said, ‘Let’s go through the [prospects] again, make sure we all see eye to eye on how we’ve got ’em ranked.’" If Manziel was still there at 16, the patriarch added, "I assume we’d take him—wouldn’t we?"

Replied Stephen, with some delicacy, "Well, I don’t think we would."

Jerry acquiesced: If any of three defensive players were still available—linebackers Ryan Shazier or Anthony Barr or tackle Aaron Donald—the Cowboys would choose one of them before the quarterback.

"And Zack," Stephen reminded his father. Indeed, Dallas had Notre Dame guard Zack Martin higher on its board than Manziel. But Jerry wasn’t making any promises.

Surely it wouldn’t come to that, father and son finally agreed. Surely, by then, Manziel would be gone—or one of the defenders would still be available.

It came to that.

Zack Martin not worried about his contract, hopes to be with Cowboys for 'a long time' - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The Cowboys are building their own Great Wall.

Left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick have contracts with the Cowboys through the 2023 season.

Right guard Zack Martin's rookie contract runs through 2017. Dallas is expected to exercise the fifth-year option on his deal in hopes of working out a long-term agreement. The goal is to keep the three perennial Pro Bowlers together for their entire careers.


Mind Your NFL Business: Whither Tony Romo - Andrew Brandt, The MMQB
Interesting take from Brandt who argues that the Cowboys might be better off having Romo as a $25 million backup, than taking a cap hit of $19 million and not getting anything for that money.

As accomplished a player as Tony Romo is, I don’t see a robust market for his services. At this point in his career, which has recently been dominated by injuries, he cannot be counted on as a starting quarterback in 2017, and trade offers will reflect that. Romo counts over $25 million on the Cowboys’ salary cap if he is on the team, which, in my view, is more palatable than the alternative: counting $19 million if he is not on the team. The cap issues reflect the Cowboys paying the piper for taking out second and third mortgages on his contract; they would be cap-positive in releasing or trading him had they not sacrificed long-term pain for short-term gain.

Michael Irvin on Tony Romo's future: 'He wants to play football' - Patrik Walker,
Michael Irvin believes Tony Romo isn't done playing in the NFL.

Irvin sees neither retirement nor acceptance of a backup role for Romo in 2017.

"I know it's a difficult decision, but it's a decision that has to be made and he's made many difficult decisions," said the three-time Super Bowl champion, via Dallas Morning News. "Tony wants to go play football. Tony doesn't want to sit another whole year. If Jerry [Jones] could have his cake and eat it too, he would pay Tony a great amount of money to be the highest-paid backup ever in the history of the game. But that won't feed Tony's belly.

"So, they gotta make a decision there, so I think he'll do everything and anything he can to help Tony get to a good spot."

With Romo situation plus Moore, Sanchez set to be FAs, Cowboys could again be in need of backup QB - Brandon George, SportsDay
Jerry Jones explains that the urgency at QB might not be as big this year as it was last year, but they still need a backup.

"Not as much as we put in last year because we actually thought we were getting our backup quarterback when we got Dak, but we were pushing hard," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "We knew we had Romo, but we were pushing hard looking at those quarterbacks with an eye to the future. That won't quite be the emphasis this year."

Do the Cowboys believe they already have their backup quarterback on the roster?

"I think we could, but that's not a given," Jerry Jones said. "But it won't quite have the emphasis it had last year. We really felt like it was time to look at the future quarterback, and that dictated some of our strategy by the time we got down to the draft.


Former Patriots coach: Dak Prescott has everything Bill Belichick looks for; he compares favorably to Tom Brady
Tom Shaw, a well-known strength and conditioning guru who runs runs the Performance Enhancement Camp in Orlando and has trained some of the league's top quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick, and Donovan McNabb, sees several similarities between Brady and Prescott.

Prescott said this week that he plans on training with Shaw for his entire career. That should be viewed as a positive by the Cowboys considering Shaw's training program is similar to the one implemented by Dallas strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik.

"I think he's going to be successful because of the way he devotes his whole life to being great," Shaw said. "If Dak starts playing golf and Dak starts skiing and starts doing stuff that is keeping him away from being great, Dak will fall off. He knows that."

While in New England, Shaw said head coach Bill Belichick would ask the following about players:

Are they hard workers? Are they intelligent? Do they show up on time? Are they coachable?

"Dak has everything on that checklist," Shaw said.

NFL Draft Primer: Wide Receivers The Cowboys Should Target - Marcus Mosher, Fanrag Sports
If you're looking for the Cowboys to draft a wide receiver, keep in mind that they have a specific template for their outside guys, as Mosher explains.

When the Cowboys are looking for receivers on the outside, they certainly have a clear prototype. Over the past few seasons, the Cowboys’ have only played receivers who measured in above 6’2. Here’s a quick list of some of the receivers who have played the X and Z receiver spots for the Cowboys:

To emphasize this point even further, you can see that in 2016, the Cowboys only had three receivers on their draft board that fell under the 6’2 threshold, none of which had first round grades. With the Cowboys’ already having their slot receiver in Cole Beasley, it’s highly unlikely they would consider anyone smaller than their prototype. Even if players such as Corey Coleman and Will Fuller would’ve fallen to the Cowboys in later rounds, I have a hard time believing they would’ve pulled the trigger because of how strict they are with those requirements.

Six Defensive Draft Prospects The Cowboys Met At Senior Bowl - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Through various sources, Sisemore was able to confirm six defensive prospects the Cowboys met with at the Senior Bowl, and immediately followed that up with a post on the offensive players the Cowboys met with:

Five Offensive Prospects Cowboys Met At Senior Bowl - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Two receivers, two linemen, one RB.

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