Falcons, Chris Lindstrom’s contract extension causing problems for Cowboys, Zack Martin

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The Falcons made Chris Lindstrom the highest-paid guard in league history this offseason, and it’s causing problems for the Cowboys as Zack Martin is currently unhappy with his current deal.

Lindstrom is one of the most talented players at his position and will be well compensated for his 2022 breakout campaign, which ended with All-Pro honors. He just earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his career and has made it known that he wants to remain in Atlanta.

“I want to be a Falcon for my whole career,” Chris Lindstrom said via Sports Illustrated. 

Clearly, the team feels the same way. Atlanta’s front office probably could’ve played hardball to negotiate a more team-friendly deal but decided to reward one of their best and brightest. It’s an admirable move.

For the upcoming season, Quenton Nelson ($20 million), Elgton Jenkins ($17 million), Brandon Scherff ($16.5 million), Joe Thuney ($16 million), and Joel Bitonio ($16 million) lead all guards in average annual contract value. And Lindstrom will top them all. However, a name you don’t see up there is the consensus best guard in football — Zack Martin.

Martin said he is “woefully underpaid relative to the market,” a source told ESPN.

He’s currently set to make about $7 million less this season than Nelson and Lindstrom. Martin signed a seven-year, $93.41 million deal in 2018 and is well on his way to becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer, which is no easy feat for a guard. The Cowboys stalwart has been a mainstay in Dallas and been a driving force in some of the best offensive lines in the league.

Though he’s the best guard in football, that’s not always how contracts work. Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year, $450 million mega-deal that made him the highest-paid quarterback in the league, and he’s already outside of the top five in terms of average annual value. He’s obviously the best signal caller in the league but is only earning the seventh most at his position.

Zack Martin has more All-Pro appearances than holding calls in his career. He certainly has the right to demand a new deal as he enters the last years of his prime, but the Cowboys have a bevy of other stars that need new contracts — Ceedee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, etc. It’s a difficult situation for Jerry Jones, and it all stems from Chris Lindstrom and Quenton Nelson resetting the guard market.

Photographer: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

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