The Dallas Cowboys have enjoyed a largely distraction-free offseason, but that changed early Wednesday when Adam Schefter reported Zack Martin might hold out of training camp because he believes his contract doesn't reflect his value.
It's easy to side with Martin on this. He's long been underpaid and is widely considered the best interior offensive lineman in the NFL.
A revised contract that includes more guarantee money over the next two seasons (the final two years of his deal) or an entirely new extension are the least Martin deserves when you consider his performance over the last nine years and the example he sets on and off the field as a team captain.
It's never ideal when a team's best player threatens to hold out of training camp, but there's little reason for Cowboys fans to fear the worst.
Per ESPN's Todd Archer, Dallas and Martin's reps had "brief discussions" at the combine about reworking his current contract, which suggests Dallas was already aware that Martin was seeking a revised contract.
Cowboys Rumors: Zack Martin and Dallas had contract talks during NFL Combine.
Though brief, the fact Dallas and Martin have had talks is encouraging.
It's clear the Cowboys understand Martin is underpaid and was going to ask for an uptick in pay at some point. We just hope they mapped out how to navigate this obstacle while also keeping the door open for new deals for CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs.
Martin is an all-time Cowboy and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, but everyone understands the importance of getting Lamb and Diggs locked up long-term. Giving Martin a revised contract shouldn't impede new deals for Lamb and Diggs, but it could delay the process depending how long Martin's negotiations take.
To say nothing of Terence Steele, whom the Cowboys are in talks with on a Cowboy for Life" contract, per SI's Mike Fisher, but that can wait.
Typically, this is what happens when players sign long-term contracts.
The market was always going to evolve by the time Martin's deal expired, which won't happen until after the 2024 season.
Quenton Nelson signed a $20 million per year extension with the Colts right before the start of the 2022 season, while Chris Lindstrom inked a five-year, $105 million deal ($20.5 million per year) with the Falcons back in March.
Elgton Jenkins of the Packers signed for $17 million annually in December while Brandon Scherff, Joel Bitonio, Joe Tuney and Wyatt Teller have all surpassed Martin's $14 million AAV since Martin signed his deal in 2018.
Again, the sky is not falling here. Martin wants more money as the game's premier guard and the Cowboys will give it to him. Martin agreed to restructure his contract in March for the fifth year running and he's made six first-team All-Pros in four of the last five seasons, and six of nine seasons overall.
It's more of a matter of when, not if, and whether it drags into training camp and stalls negotiations with Lamb and Diggs' camp.