FRISCO, Texas - The next time you choose to whine about the Cowboys not signing some big-time free agent close your pie hole.
Seriously, just stop.
You should know the deal by now: The Cowboys don’t sign big-money free agents from other teams; they sign their own dudes.
Guard Zack Martin is the latest to get a big money deal just like Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford and Jason Witten have gotten huge deals over the past few years.
And just like defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will get a big-money deal in the next year.
Martin signed a six-year extension worth $84 million, including $40 million guaranteed and a $20 million signing bonus. Only Tony Romo has received a larger signing bonus in franchise history.
Martin is now the Cowboys’ highest-paid player and the league’s highest-paid guard. It means the Cowboys now have the NFL’s highest-paid left tackle (Tyron Smith) at $97 million, center (Travis Frederick) $58.6 million and guard.
Those three are each signed through 2023. Second-round pick guard Connor Williams is signed through 2021 and right tackle La’el Collins is signed through 2019.
That should make Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott happy because this offense is built around their talents.
Ordinarily, you would be loathe to pay a guard the kind of money that Martin received because they’re typically inferior athletes to tackles and sub-par pass-blockers who can be exploited by athletic defensive tackles.
Martin, though, is the exception. And that’s why he’s getting a 10-digit signing bonus.
Martin, the 16th player selected in the 2014 draft, has been named first- or second-team All-Pro each of his first four seasons. He has made the Pro Bowl each of his first four seasons.
More important, Martin is durable.
In his first four seasons, he has been on the field for 4,159 of 4,212 plays since joining the Cowboys. That’s 98.7 percent of the snaps.
The Cowboys love his intelligence and his toughness, but it’s his recovery skills and balance that makes him special. What that means is that when Martin gets beat at the snap, which happens to every player on occasion, he has the ability to get back into position to maintain and sustain his block.
He's everything you want in a football player," coach Jason Garrett said. "He's an outstanding player, the best at his position in the National Football League and represents our team on and off the field exactly how you want. He's a great leader, been a great leader right from the start."
Martin’s mega-deal allows the Cowboys to lower his cap figure to $6 million for the 2018 season.
Dallas and Seattle have been flirting for months when it comes to Earl Thomas. The issue has been price - Seattle started off wanting a first- and third-round pick, but was willing to take a second-round pick during the draft - because the team that acquires Thomas must also pay him.
Teams that have to pay Thomas the kind of money he wants aren’t in a hurry to also give up a premium draft choice.
Thomas has a year left on a four-year, $40 million deal and he wants to be paid at least $12 million a year.
Thomas just turned 29 and has been one of the NFL’s best safeties. The Cowboys now have the cap room to add Thomas, if they choose.
The reality is the Cowboys were willing to pay free-agent receiver Sammy Watkins about $16 million a year, so they can certainly find the cash to pay Thomas.
The Cowboys could also make another attempt to sign Lawrence to a long-term deal. He’s earning $17 million this year under the franchise tag, but the club has until July 16 to work a long-term deal out.
Whether it gets done now or later, Lawrence is going to get a long-term deal from the Cowboys. Remember that, the next time you whine about Dallas not signing a free agent.