With the 16th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys select...
It seems like only yesterday that we were all gathered around the television clinging to the edge of our seat when the Cowboys were on the clock. After being flooded with draft pundits proclaiming that they were all but certain that Johnny Football would going to Big D, I’m not going to lie - the thought was on the forefront of my mind. This happened way before our confidence level of the Cowboys war room had been established. We were only a couple years removed from the Morris Claiborne trade-up, so making a big splash in the first round was a very reasonable possibility. But despite Jerry Jones’ fondness of the Texas A&M quarterback star, cooler heads prevailed and the Cowboys selected the offensive linemen from Notre Dame.
The selection of Martin didn’t make fans jump out of their seat. And if they did, it was more attributed to it not being Manziel than it was for Martin. Fan-favorite Aaron Donald was selected three picks ahead of him and linebacker Ryan Shazier was taken immediately before him, so all the big defensive playmakers were already gone. When the Cowboys were finally on the clock - it looked like they just settled for whatever was left.
But settled, they did not. Martin turned out to be one of the very best players in this draft. Three offensive linemen - Greg Robinson (2nd overall), Jake Matthews (6th overall), and Taylor Lewan (11th overall) were taken ahead of Martin, but the Cowboys new guard was the best of the bunch as he’s been an All Pro in each of his four seasons with the team. Martin’s played in all 64 games of his NFL career and done so at a high level. So much, in fact, that the Cowboys made him the highest paid guard in the league with a seven-year, $93.4 million deal, with $40 million guaranteed. (Six years were added to his existing contract with a total of $84 million in compensation.)
The total deal for All-Pro right guard Zack Martin is seven years for $93.41 million and includes a $20 million signing bonus, according to a source. As Adam Schefter reported, the guaranteed money is $40 million. The Cowboys created around $3 million... https://t.co/q8ovYSiQRg— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) June 13, 2018
Martin sat out of OTA’s waiting for the deal to be finalized as he was cautiously protecting himself against some fluke injury. Remember, he was the one who flattened Sean Lee on the first day of practice during the OTA’s of 2014 so he’s very aware of the risk involved. He could have continued to hold out during the mandatory part of training camp, but he would have been assessed fines for skipping them.
All that is now moot as the Cowboys get their starting right guard back on the field. It’s not as critical to get such a polished player (who’s in great shape) the extra work, however, it’s great to have the entire unit working together so they can build cohesiveness. Rookie Connor Williams is a new piece to the puzzle and having all five starters out on the field is good for the whole group. It’s good for the OLine, it’s good for Ezekiel Elliott, and it’s good for Dak Prescott. It’s also good for defensive players like Jihad Ward and Datone Jones to get a taste of the nastiness that is Zack Martin.
Speaking of that nastiness, let’s take a moment to appreciate Mr. Moneybags.
On this play, evil edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul tries to pick on Zack’s buddy, Doug Free and gets blown up.
JPP finally had enough of this and opted to go play with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On this next play, Martin breaks to the outside and locks in on a Redskins defensive back. He drags this poor guy 10 yards down the field before shoving him to the ground. And then, just for good measure, Martin decides to just plunge on top of him so he can feel the 315 pounds of wreckage that awaits him each time he tries to pull this nonsense.
Zack Martin is good at playing football pic.twitter.com/MQnadd3A3x— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 11, 2018
Extending Martin was a foregone conclusion as he’s clearly one of the key pieces to this football team. There was nothing left for him to prove, so it all came down to how much. The front office is forking out a hefty chunk of change to Martin, but it’s going to be money well spent. He’s someone the team can count on and they are getting him during all of his prime years. In 2023, when he’ll be in the sixth and final year of his deal, Martin will be just 32 years old. He’s not going to be a player you have to worry about playing up to the level to warrant that kind of money. You don’t have to worry about his character or having any off-field issues. And if you need cap space down the road for future expenditures, his reliable performance makes him a low-risk contract restructure candidate. It’s a good deal all across the board for the Cowboys.
So congratulations to Martin in becoming a very wealthy man. He’s earned it and those destructive talents will now be on display for the next 96 games of Cowboys football.