FRISCO, Texas – Strictly speaking, Zack Martin doesn't have a new contract yet. Judging from his presence at Cowboys minicamp, though, the All-Pro guard is confident it's coming soon.
"Both sides are still talking," Martin said. "Obviously, we made some strides this weekend. You guys jumped on it pretty quick, I guess, but we made some strides and I felt good about coming in this week and getting these few days."
It has long been suspected that, at some point, the Cowboys would make Martin the highest-paid guard in the NFL. After more than a year of speculation, it seems likely that's going to happen in the near future.
Whenever he winds up signing it, Martin's deal is expected to keep him in Dallas for six more years and surpass the $65 million price tag that Andrew Norwell set just two months ago.
"I'm not going to get into details, but both sides are communicating and like I said hopefully it's done sooner rather than later," Martin said.
That Martin is in line for such a hefty contract is no surprise. From the time he was drafted No. 16 overall in 2014, all he has done is rack up accolades – four Pro Bowls, two first-team All-Pros and two second-team All-Pros, to be exact. On top of that, he has yet to miss a snap in his NFL career.
In fact, it's probably that last bit that has made the past month so strange. During the process of discussing a new contract, Martin opted to refrain from practicing in the Cowboys' nine OTAs. He still worked out at the facility, but not seeing him in his starting right guard spot this past month has been unusual.
"If you would've asked me, I never would've thought in a million years I'd be the guy holding out and not coming to things. But that's the way it kind of worked," Martin said. "At the end of the day I had to make a decision, as hard as it was, with what was best for me at the time."
Having not been in the locker room for the past month, Martin admitted he had been going a bit stir crazy at home. And while his contract hasn't been finalized, it sounds like it's close enough to being done that he was willing to take the field for minicamp.
"I'll just say that after this weekend, I felt comfortable with coming," he said.
Martin's return to the locker room gives the Cowboys back one of their most accomplished veterans. While he was absent during OTAs, the Cowboys' staff moved Martin into Jason Witten's vacant locker – as telling a gesture as you could ask for with this team.
"He certainly represents everything, the things that Witten represented over the course of 15 years," said Cowboys coach Jason . Garrett. "Those are the kind of guys you want on your team. Those are the kind of guys you want as the face of your program."
There aren't any signatures on the paperwork, but it sounds like that's going to be the case for Martin. And when he does finally sign, he'll become the third Cowboys All-Pro offensive lineman – along with Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick – to sign on for at least the next six years.
Suffice to say: however strange his temporary absence might have been, it sounds like Zack Martin is about to be a constant around The Star for quite some time.
"Hopefully, I'm here for a long time," Martin said. "We've got a ton of great leaders on this team and a ton of guys that are going to be here for a long time, and I know I'm one of those guys."