Now, y'all would guess that more often than not the highest paid player on an NFL team is the quarterback. And you'd be right. What you probably don't know is that more often than not the second highest paid player is, thanks to Lawrence Taylor, a left tackle. However, for the Dallas Cowboys, the highest paid player is their left tackle Tyron Smith and then followed by Travis Frederick. Two offensive linemen while Dak Prescott the soon to be third-year quarterback is making is set to make a base salary of $630,000 while his offensive linemen make more than double that. So why is it important to pay the offensive lineman because without them there is no quarterback play.
In the past few years, the Dallas Cowboys have been upgrading their offense. In 2010, 2013, and 2014 3 of the current offensive linemen were drafted: Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Smith and Frederick were both given extensions before their rookie contract ended but Zack Martin had to wait until now. While all the details haven't been reported Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network stated that the Cowboys are going to be given Zack Martin a six-year extension which will make him the highest-paid guard in the league. Martin is now the highest paid guard in the NFL after making the Pro Bowl every year since his rookie year and being an all pro every year of his football career. To put it one way Zack Martin is one of the best guards in the NFL.
You may be thinking to yourself what is the importance of the offensive line in football and why are they worth these lucrative deals. Without an O-Line, you have no consistent quarterback play or running back explosiveness which helps puts points on the board. The O-line is known for winning the battle "in the trenches" and the Dallas Cowboys have done better in that situation each and every year. In 2014 which was Zack Martin's rookie year Demarco Murray of the Cowboys earned the NFL's Offensive Player of The Year award at the end of the season and put up over 2200 yards from scrimmage. The offensive line was more improved and became a pivotal point of success for the team.
While Dallas hasn't been a football juggernaut in recent years they have been able to build the team to become more athletic. Dallas has focused more on the offensive line and defensive players rather than just going for the speedy wide receivers (yes I'm looking at you Baltimore with getting Breshad Perriman) to create a team built on strength. While I disagree a lot with Jerry Jones as an owner and general manager seeing him with this strategy has actually been one of the smartest things he has done for the team.
In this past draft, the Cowboys addressed three needs for the team in linebacker, offensive line, and tight end. With Sean Lee getting older and having a list of injuries they got a player who can play sideline to sideline. What happens if one of your offensive linemen gets hurt and you don't have depth well that could be the difference in a game. While this article is about Zack Martin and Martin has not missed a game in his career it is still useful to have depth. Finally with Jason Witten retiring it was time to bring in a new tight end. He may not be Jason Witten and he might have the respect the rest of the team had for Witten but he will grow into this role.
We have seen the Cowboys give extensions to other offensive linemen and now it is Martin's turn. The other extensions have paid off but now will Martin's pay off?