The second week of Dallas Cowboys training camp is in the books and Zack Martin's contract holdout remains a distraction.
While negotiations are likely taking place behind closed doors, there hasn't been any mention of the two sides finding a common ground. With each training camp practice that Martin misses, he's issued a $50,000 fine.
Having missed the first two weeks in Oxnard, Martin has compiled over $500,000 in fines. Since Martin is on a veteran contract, the penalties can't be waived. If Martin misses the remainder of camp, his fine total will creep upwards of $2 million.
That's seemingly the only leverage the Cowboys have here. If Martin has zero issue tanking $2 million, his holdout could last longer than expected.
But it doesn't have to. Last week, the Bengals gave pass rusher Trey Hendrickson a one-year extension through the 2025 season.
How the Cowboys can end Zack Martin's contract holdout
Hendrickson had two years remaining on the four-year, $60 million contract he signed in 2021, but that didn't stop Cincinnati from giving him a one-year, extension worth $21 million because he outperformed his contract.
Ultimately, Hendrickson will make $18 million instead of $13 million. It's a $5 million raise, which is around what should make Martin happy.
Hendrickson will still make $15 million in 2024 and $16 million in 2025 (the additional year), but the Bengals can always go back to the drawing board with another raise or new extension if he continues to outperform his contract.
Martin is a free agent after the 2024 season, so the Cowboys don't have to worry about all the additional years. With that in mind, Joey Corry of CBS Sports proposed a one-year extension worth $21.5 million for Martin.
"Martin could be given a $5 million signing bonus that would be prorated at $1.25 million annually through 2026 because Dallas added voiding/dummy 2025 and 2026 contract years in the 2022 restructure. His $14 million of 2024 compensation should be guaranteed in the process. "
Long story short, the Cowboys have options. One of them is giving Martin a one-year raise contingent on incentives.
Star running backs Austin Ekeler and Saquon Barkley both received incentives north of $1 million, but it's much easier to set parameters for skill position players relative to offensive linemen. For RBs, teams can simply set a rushing yards threshold. For OL, you're talking about snap share and team success.
That's extremely complicated, which brings us back to Hendrickson. That's the most logical course of action to get Martin back on the practice field.