The Dallas Cowboys could have a contract holdout on their hands this summer.
Six-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin is reportedly unhappy with his current compensation and will reportedly consider skipping training camp, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. A source also told Schefter that Martin believes he is “woefully underpaid relative to the market.”
Martin, 32, is set to count around $12 million against the salary cap this year, per Over The Cap, after the Cowboys restructured his contract in March. He's signed through 2024 with two void years at the end.
What Martin is likely referencing is his $14 million average annual value (AAV) — a number that puts him below seven other guards and $6.5 million less than the highest-paid guard in Atlanta Falcons guard Chris Lindstrom, who signed a massive deal worth $20.5 million per year in March.
Martin is one of the most accomplished active guards in the NFL. He has twice as many first-team All-Pro selections as the Indianapolis Colts' Quenton Nelson. Martin also has three more Pro Bowls than the Jacksonville Jaguars' Brandon Scherff. Both Nelson and Scherff have a higher AAV than Martin.
Martin has also been the most stable part of the Cowboys' offensive line since Dallas drafted him with the No. 16 overall pick in 2014. Martin missed just eight games in his career — two in 2018 and six in 2020 — and was named the top interior offensive lineman in a recent ESPN poll of NFL executives, coaches and scouts after he allowed just three sacks this past season. The Cowboys have also had a top-10 rushing offense in seven of the past nine seasons with Martin on the line.
Whether or not Zack Martin ultimately misses camp/Cowboys get new deal done, 2 reasons the timing of request is apt.
1) Mike McCarthy has stressed that shift in Cowboys protection plan is 🔑 to stabilize passing game, reduce INTs. Zack can make-or-break that success.
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) July 19, 2023
And to cap it all off, "Madden 24" gave Martin a 99 rating, something the guard wouldn't let go unnoticed the same day news broke of his potential holdout.
Cowboys have other players to extend, too
Martin's contract could become an issue for Dallas, but it isn't the only one.
Running back Tony Pollard will play the 2023 season on the franchise tag after the team failed to reach an an agreement on a long-term deal, but his future with the team will inevitably be revisited next offseason.
Star wideout CeeDee Lamb and cornerback Trevon Diggs are also eligible for extensions this year. While Lamb has his fifth-year option for 2024 already locked in, Diggs is an impending free agent as a second-round draft pick. All three are incredibly important to Dallas, and Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said in April he'd "love" to have Lamb and Diggs back.
There will be a lot of big questions the Cowboys will have to answer this season.