untung99.biz: Zack Martin holdout fines reach milestone but at least Cowboys RG isnt Nick Bosa

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The Dallas Cowboys offensive line is clearly missing Zack Martin, even if Saturday’s performance would have been the same even if the guard wasn’t holding out. Martin is seeking a pay raise after completing his eighth Pro Bowl and sixth All-Pro season in nine years in the league. He has two years remaining on his contract, but is barely in the top-10 of interior linemen salaries across the league.

On Saturday, he missed the club’s opening preseason game, but as the star veteran he is, he wasn’t going to suit up anyway. Still, the performance of his potential replacements only adds to the narrative that Martin deserves what he’s asking for. On Sunday, his holdout reached a huge milestone that even if only symbolic, helps to show just how serious the riff is currently.

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Sunday is the 20th day of Martin’s holdout since the mandatory reporting day of Tuesday, July 25. Since that day Martin has been accruing daily $50,000 fines. The fines are mandatory, and thanks to the last CBA negotiation, clubs have prevented each other from waiving the fines whenever the player eventually reports.

Quick math shows 20 days of fines at $50,000 per day equate to a nice round $1 million of fines Martin has now lost.

The fine is spelled out in Article 42, Section 1, Subsection (c), Exhibit A. Somewhat fortunately for both Martin and the club, he is not included in the same rule as the San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Bosa has been accruing fines for his holdout at the rate of $40,000, so his total there is “only” $800,000 at this point. Bosa is set to play under the fifth-year option, a league tool that allows teams to control a first-round rookie for a fifth season instead of the normal four-year rookie contract. The amounts are dictated by player achievement over the first three years of his career, something the Cowboys just invoked for 2020 first-round pick CeeDee Lamb.

However the lesser fine is accompanied by additional penalties other vets don’t incur, and Bosa just hit the first one.

Article 7, Section 7 subsection H outlines that as a fifth-year option player who had no choice but to be bound by the option, the club will fine Bosa a regular season game check for missing the 49ers preseason opener.

That amounts to $992,166. So to this point, Bosa is facing over $1.7 million in lost pay. Unlike the mandatory daily fines, though, the club can waive the game-check penalty if and when the two sides come to an agreement.

Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t think the Cowboys should budge when it comes to Zack Martin’s holdout. I don’t think Martin should, either. Martin is a disgruntled employee frustrated over being the ninth-highest paid interior offensive lineman. In a pact signed way back in 2014 when Ebola was the pandemic and protests were defining everyone’s inclinations, Martin became the highest-paid iOL to the tune of a $14 million extension.

Martin is the name brand for what he does, if folks are keeping it a buck. Over the past nine years, several other guards and centers have been sprinkled with “best” monikers and listings, but Martin is the pace setter as others play the impatient driver that also gets caught at the next intersection. He wants to be paid like his Hall of Fame resume will read. So he sits out while his teammates work towards a team goal.

At the same time, the club doesn’t want to set a precedent for star players to be able to open up negotiations with two years remaining on the deal. However, the club has little leg to stand on as they will release a player they deem no longer worthy at any point in a contract. If it’s okay for them, it is okay for the player, too. It’s the rare situation where everyone is right but one side is going to have to have a bad taste in its mouth no matter what.

Fans are in a strange boat as they often side with ownership in these battles because a player’s absence means worse fortunes for the team they root for. despite the fact most fans are worker bees who would want similar support if they were disgruntled in their pay arrangements.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Martin deserves to renegotiate his deal. He deserves to be paid as the best in the league and has several years remaining in his career. The club deserves the right to say no, but they are handcuffing Mike McCarthy’s efforts to build a winner because an offensive line without Martin is not going to get this team a championship. Each day Martin misses means less improvement from Terence Steele and Tyler Biadasz who play next to the future Hall of Famer.

Offensive linemen and coaching staffs will tell anyone willing to lean in close that continuity is the most important thing next to talent to achieving success. Practicing with each other, playing with each other matters more for OL than any other position group. Martin’s skill will be fine, he doesn’t need to practice in camp for himself. But Biadasz and Steele are not of the same caliber or ilk or experience factor. They benefit from getting those reps.

Also don’t forget, the Cowboys have a new OL coach in Mike Solari. Martin got a taste of what Solari was teaching during the OTA and minicamp installations. Perhaps that’s a factor here, but certainly missing training camp while those techniques are further engrained is something that could ripple into the games if and when he does eventually report.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Third contracts, awarded after a rookie deal and the following new deal are testy waters when it comes to the NFL. They often involve committing to paying a player beyond their prime seasons and betting on the ability to maintain a certain level of performance.

Combined with the way Dallas looks at second deals, as rewards instead of incentives, it puts them in an interesting position. The Cowboys’ precedent with eventual Green Jacket wearers says they aren’t going to budge.

Jason Witten was only redone with one year remaining. Tony Romo was only done with one year remaining. Emmitt Smith was only redone wth one year remaining. DeMarcus Ware didn’t even get a third contract with the Cowboys.

Of the current group of players, Dak Prescott had his contract expire, twice, before getting a new deal. This is the precedent Martin is seeking for the organization to set.