May 19, 2024

Why Cowboys’ Jerry Jones won’t pay Zack Martin: ‘We need the money to pay (Micah) Parsons’

If Zack Martin was hoping the Dallas Cowboys would alter his contract, Jerry Jones may have put those dreams into despair. Speaking to reporters at training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Saturday, Jones admitted he can’t pay everyone on the roster. 

Jones hinted Martin likely won’t get his contract altered because there are younger stars who Dallas has to pay — namely Micah Parsons. 

“It’s not about precedent. It’s about facts,” Jones said Saturday, via ESPN. “We need the money to pay (Micah) Parsons. We need the money to pay the players that we got to pay in the future. It’s a fact. It’s not even a philosophy. It’s just a fact. 

“Those dollars are there and we have this at this level, and if you redid all the contracts, then you never could put a roster together.”

As for what Martin can do about the situation moving forward, Jones seems to be holding all the cards. “Nothing. He’ll come to camp when he comes to camp,” Jones said, via The Athletic. “There’s no resolution. There are a lot of consequences if he doesn’t. … He’s been at the top of the money all the way through, drafted high and got a lot of money, got a lot of money over the years. It’s just hard to get it all. The bottom line is, nothing needs to happen.”  

Martin has two years left on his current deal and has a cap number of $11.04 million this year, which increases to $23.34 million in 2024. The deal isn’t exactly cap friendly for the Cowboys, while Martin continues to hold out of camp hoping for a reworked deal. Martin has missed five days of practice and owes the Cowboys $250,000 in fines ($50,000 per day).

With an average annual salary of $14 million per year, Martin is the fourth-highest-paid right guard in the NFL. He has outperformed his deal. 

Martin earned another First Team All-Pro selection in 2022, the sixth of his career and eighth All-Pro selection in nine seasons (made All-Pro every season he’s played 11-plus games). He didn’t allow a sack in 594 pass-blocking snaps in last season, giving up just two quarterback hits, 16 pressures and a 2.7% pressure rate. Ezekiel Elliott’s struggles hurt Martin in run blocking, but he didn’t have his typical season in that department creating holes in the A- or B-gap. 

Regardless, Martin is still the standard for guard play in the NFL and is on his way to the Hall of Fame. Only John Hannah and Randall McDaniel have more First Team All-Pro selections at guard (seven), which Martin is one away from matching. 

While the 33-year-old Martin wants his deal altered, the Cowboys will have to pay Parsons at some point too. After signing Trevon Diggs to an extension, paying Parsons appears to be Jones’s top priority at this time. There’s also the looming Dak Prescott extension Jones has to worry about.

Speaking of Prescott, the veteran QB came to bat for his All-Pro lineman earlier this week, telling Jones to “pay the man.”

Making Martin happy appears to be on the back burner — for now at least. 

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