FRISCO, Texas –Zack Martin's absence from the Cowboys' OTAs hasn't yet put things in motion for a new contract, it seems.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said as much Tuesday, when he was asked about his All-Pro guard and the ongoing discussions about a contract extension.
"Really not any updates as of late," Jones said. "Tom and I visited I guess it's a week ago, maybe 10 days ago. He came into town and we had some good discussions but we just aren't there yet."
"Tom" would refer to Tom Condon – Martin's agent. With Martin earning four All-Pro selections in four seasons, it has long been suspected that Condon would help him secure a sizable extension. Martin is about to play the final year of his rookie deal on a club option, which will net him roughly $9 million.
Given Martin's decision to sit out of OTAs, it seems he'd prefer to up that contract figure before the 2018 season. And while a deal might not be done right now, it doesn't sound like the Cowboys' front office has any issues with that.
"Nobody wants to have Zack signed more than we do," Jones said. "I truly think he's one of the best offensive linemen in the league. Certainly we think the best offensive guard in the league, and should be paid accordingly. It's just a matter of structures and by how much and that type of thing."
Jones said there's no deadline on how long the process might take, but he added that the Cowboys will continue to work hard at getting a deal done.
As long as Jones was answering questions about contracts, it made sense to ask him about DeMarcus Lawrence.
Unlike Martin, there is a bit of a deadline for the All-Pro pass rusher. Lawrence is currently slated to play the 2018 season for $17 million under the franchise tag. Per NFL rules, the Cowboys have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal with him. After the deadline, negotiations can't start up until after the season.
"I don't necessarily have anything right now on the calendar to get with him, but obviously it's the same type of situation."
For his part, Lawrence has said that he's not worried about playing on the tag. He has been present for all of the offseason program, as well as OTAs, and he hasn't seemed one bit bothered by the thought of playing on a $17 million, guaranteed contract.
"Certainly, he's getting paid handsomely if he goes with the franchise tag," Jones said. "At the same time I know he would, we would like to have a long-term deal in place as well, but we'll just continue to see where that fits as well in terms of our big picture and our salary cap."
With the announcement last week that both Phoenix and New Orleans will host the Super Bowl in coming years, Jones was asked about the Cowboys' designs on submitting a bid. AT&T Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLV at the end of the 2010 season, but the venue hasn't been back in the mix for the game in recent years.
"It's a competitive situation, I will say that. With all the new stadiums that have come on, certainly everybody should have those opportunities," Jones said. "And then you mix in the destinational-type bidders, who traditionally are where fans like to go take vacations or like to get away — whether that's South Florida, Southern California, New Orleans, Phoenix. Obviously those are places that are tough to compete against."
Add in the fact that Atlanta just built a new stadium, while Las Vegas and Los Angeles are constructing new arenas, and it makes sense. But Jones said that won't deter the Cowboys from trying to bring it back to the Dallas area.
"It's very competitive," he said. "We're going to continue to compete for them. We know it's a long ways out at this point, but it certainly doesn't dampen our enthusiasm to continue to try to get one of these games."