Cowboys sign Diggs to five-year, $97M extension
There’s a new No. 1 on the to-do list at training camp as the Dallas Cowboys once again start their pursuit of the playoff breakthrough that has eluded them for 27 years.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones and company did manage to scratch one thing off the list Tuesday.
Dallas and cornerback Trevon Diggs agreed on a $97 million, five-year contract extension, locking up the player who led the NFL and tied a franchise record with 11 interceptions in 2021.
The Diggs news on reporting day for camp came just as right guard Zack Martin officially became a holdout, a person with knowledge of Martin's decision told The Associated Press.
The six-time All-Pro is seeking a reworked contract, the person told the AP on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks.
Martin is one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, but only eighth among the highest-paid guards with an annual average of $14 million on the extension he signed five years ago. The 32-year-old has two years remaining on his deal.
Jones danced around questions about Martin with various versions of “no comment” during his annual camp-opening news conference in Oxnard, California. Martin could be fined $50,000 per day for not reporting.
“I don’t want to get into what we are doing here or not doing,” Jones told reporters after the formal part of the news conference was over. “I just want to say that he is in our plans.”
Diggs was a second-round pick in 2020, so he is entering the final year of his rookie deal after tying for the NFL lead with 17 interceptions over his first three seasons. The $19.4 million per-year average on the extension is among the top six for cornerbacks, according to overthecap.com.
The Cowboys are coming off consecutive 12-win seasons under coach Mike McCarthy, but still haven’t been past the divisional round of the playoffs since winning the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl title to cap the 1995 season.
McCarthy is taking over play calling, which he did most of his time in a 12-plus-season stint with Green Bay that included a championship.
The move with McCarthy came after the Cowboys agreed to part ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who was immediately hired for the same job by the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Dallas offense was superb in a wild-card victory over Tampa Bay in what proved to be Tom Brady's final game last January, but sputtered as it had at times all season in a divisional loss at San Francisco.
McCarthy's first postseason bid with the Cowboys ended with a wild-card loss at home to the 49ers to finish the 2021 season. The Dak Prescott-led offense struggled in that game, too.
“If you want to bang the door down, you’ve got to be on the front porch every single time,” said McCarthy, sitting alongside Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones not far from the twin practice fields that will be the Cowboys' camp home in California most of the next month.
“I think we definitely have established that,” McCarthy said. “Everybody today should feel they can win a championship. They may not talk about it, but we feel very strongly about who we are as a team.”
Prescott is without running back Ezekiel Elliott for the first time after the Cowboys unloaded the two-time rushing champion in a cost-cutting move during the offseason.
Tony Pollard is the lead back, playing on the $10.1 million franchise tag and coming off a broken lower leg after getting injured in the playoff loss to the 49ers.
Young pass rushing star Micah Parsons anchors the defense along with Diggs and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
Free agent pickup Stephon Gilmore is set to start opposite Diggs, and No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb has a new sidekick in free agent Brandin Cooks to go with Michael Gallup, now more than a full year removed from an ACL injury.
“You weigh where we’ve evolved over the last two or three years with our defense, you look at some of the talent we’ve got, you look at Dak,” Jerry Jones said. “When I look at all those things, I think we have a chance to be a contender.”
NOTES: CB Jourdan Lewis is starting camp on the physically unable to perform list coming off a broken foot, but RT Terence Steele avoided the list and should be clear to start camp after tearing an ACL late in the season against Houston. ... Rookie TE Luke Schoonmaker, a second-round pick, will start camp on the non-football injury list. He was dealing with plantar fasciitis late in offseason workouts.