At 32 years old, Zack Martin remains among the NFL's elite at his position. After holding out of training camp, he's set to return with a contract that fits his status.
The All-Pro right guard and the Cowboys have agreed to a raise over the next two seasons, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported, securing a deal that will pay him more than $18 million per year. The increase amounts to a raise of more than $8 million for the six-time All-Pro.
Martin posted consecutive All-Pro and Pro Bowl seasons in 2021 and 2022, maintaining a premier level of production into his 30s. Unfortunately for the 32-year-old, thanks to a six-year, $84 million extension signed in 2018, Martin gradually fell behind other top guards in average annual salary.
He sought to fix that by holding out of camp with one goal in mind: a raise that fits his performance in comparison to the rest of the NFL's guards. Early indications suggested Martin might be in for a stalemate. Martin accrued roughly $1 million in fines during his holdout, which cannot be reduced or forgiven per the collective bargaining agreement, Garafolo noted.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters earlier in camp that there wasn't much room to fulfill Martin's request, pointing to other prominent players' upcoming extensions as the reason Jones couldn't simply open up his wallet for Martin.
It took until Week 2 of the preseason for the parties to find common ground. With this deal, Martin vaults into the top three in average annual value at roughly $18 million per year, trailing only Atlanta's Chris Lindstrom and Indianapolis' Quenton Nelson.
Monday's deal is a victory for Martin, who may be signing his last lucrative contract. He's still playing at his peak, but at his age, it's less likely he'll fetch another large pay day.
With this in mind, Martin leveraged his standing to land one more raise. Dallas will sleep peacefully knowing it no longer has to worry about who will play right guard in 2023.
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