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Training Camp | 2023

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Eatman: Zack Martin's return made 3 spots better


OXNARD, Calif. – At one point Monday night around the team's dining area at training camp, Zack Martin was seen shaking hands and hugging several players who were greeting him for the time here in Oxnard.

With Martin ending his contract holding, thanks to a new two-year extension that will pay him about $8.5 million more on his deal, it was all smiles for the All-Pro guard.

And better yet, I'm sure it was the same on the other side of those handshakes. As much as Zack Martin is probably relieved the deal is done and he's back at camp, the same has to be said for the guys around him – especially the two that literally play around him.

Because when Zack returns to practice for the first time this week and lines up at right guard, you can best believe the right guard position is now appreciably better.

Also, say the same for the center and right tackle, too.

Now, if we want to get cute here, we can probably make a case for the quarterback, the running back, tight ends, receivers and maybe the other two O-linemen on the left side.

Sure, a player like Zack Martin probably makes the entire offense better. Not disputing that, but for this column's sake, let's leave it to the two guys around him.

Just like that, Terence Steele's job will get a little easier at right tackle. Just like that, Tyler Biadasz should have a little more success at center.

And we're talking about two players who are young, up-and-coming and probably getting close to becoming somewhat elite at their own position.
Biadasz made the Pro Bowl last year as an alternate. Steele was having his best season of his career before an ACL injury in December but he's back now and might one of the next players to sign a multi-year contract.

Yet, they both got a little better on Monday, and there wasn't even a full practice.

That's one of the things the Cowboys are paying for when they gave Martin more money. It's not just that he's the best guard in the NFL, or that he's been as consistent of a player you could have, it's also that he tends to make the players around him better.

To me, that has always been the definition of a superstar – in any sport. If your greatness elevates the ones around you to be better, that's an elite player and that's what Zack Martin is and always has been.

The Cowboys O-line is going to be much better now – across the board – because of Martin's return. And we all know, if the line can block, the quarterback can pass better, the receivers catch better and the running backs will certainly run better.

It's all a game of dominoes, and Zack Martin's return just ignited the chain of events.

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