LOS ANGELES – As the Cowboys kicked off the 2016 season, they did some business for the years to come, as well.
Just prior to kickoff of their preseason opener against the Los Angeles Rams, they agreed to terms with Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on a six-year, $56.4 million contract extension. The terms of that deal, once official, will make him the highest-paid center in the NFL.
This shouldn't come at a surprise, given the comments coming out of the Cowboys' front office this summer. The team had been negotiating with Frederick in the weeks since they arrived in California for training camp two weeks ago – and made no secret about it.
"We'll just continue to grind it out and hopefully find something that's great for Travis and works for our club as well," said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones last week. "He's one of those guys you want on your football team. He's obviously a great football player on the field, but a better guy off."
The Cowboys drafted Frederick No. 31 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft – a pick that initially drew sharp criticism around the NFL landscape. In the time since, Frederick has earned to two trips to the Pro Bowl and continually proven himself as one of the top centers in the league.
Frederick's rookie deal was initially worth $6.8 million over four years, though the Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option on his contract. Prior to this extension, Frederick was scheduled to make $8.8 million during the 2017 season.
With Frederick locked up, the Cowboys can now turn their attention to the other big pieces of their offensive line. Fellow Pro Bowler Zack Martin was drafted one year after Frederick and is eligible to have his fifth-year option picked up next spring.
La'el Collins also has two years remaining on the three-year, $1.6 million contract he signed as an undrafted free agent last spring.
"I don't know how many different ways we can say it, but it's the strong point of our football team – the strength of it," Jones said. "The amazing thing about it is that it's not only a strength if in terms of on the field, but they represent everything we want in terms of the work ethic and what they do off the field. It's a great group to try and keep them all together."