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Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin is a generational talent. The eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro, hadn't participated in Cowboys training camp because of a contract dispute around his value in relation to his position's around the NFL

Martin was holding out of camp with two years left on his six-year, $84 million contract he signed back in 2018. He was slated to earn base salaries of $1.7 million and $13 million in addition to signing bonus payments of $9.34 million in each season, according to 

"I've been here a long time," Zack Martin said Tuesday after returning to the team. "I feel like I've accomplished some good things. At the end of the day, I felt this was something that I had earned and deserved. It had been on my mind a lot ever since last season and trying to get those talks early in the offseason and kind of not seeing it go my way. I had come to the realization, if I felt this strongly about it and I wanted it to get done, this [holding out] was something I would have to do."

Now, his holdout is over, thanks to a deal that will compensate Martin $18 million in each of the next two seasons, all of which is fully guaranteed. He will take home an extra $8.5 million over the next two seasons, according to ESPN. That increase closes the gap between his average annual salary on his previous deal, $14 million, and the top of the market -- Atlanta Falcons offensive guard Chris Lindstrom's five-year, $105.2 million contract that averages $20.5 million a season. Martin revealed traction on his new deal occurred after meeting face-to-face with team owner and general manager Jerry Jones. 

"It all came together when they got to come back to Dallas [ahead of their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars]," Martin said. "We got to spend that face to face time and kinda hammer this thing out. We reached out and some of my buddies in the organization helped kind of get that going. It was good to get face to face with them."

Martin made a point to not take the initial hesitation the Cowboys, the only NFL home he has ever known, personally, which allowed for the two sides to come together with a deal everyone was happy about.

"I think you got to realize that when you make a decision like that to hold out, you're stepping into their arena and kinda got to play by their rules," Martin said. "But it was a great experience for me, learning to sit across from a guy like that with obviously all of the business savvy that he has. Although there were some tough times, there's no hard feelings and we were able to come to an agreement and I was just looking forward to getting out here."

Once the news broke of Martin's return to training camp after his renegotiated deal was complete, his offensive coaches celebrated like they won the lottery.

"It was great to get him back," Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. "When we got the news in the offensive staff meeting yesterday, the room erupted. There were a lot of high fives and hugs all day and night yesterday once he got in. I think that shows you what he means to us and our football team, especially the offense. It is a business, part of our industry, but we're about connecting and doing what we need to do to win, and he's a big part of that." 

Quarterback Dak Prescott echoed his head coach's sentiments about having his All-Pro right guard back in the fold.

"It's great to have him back," Prescott said Thursday. "It will be even more exciting when he's back in team drills, but a guy like Zack you know he's going to be ready and that he was doing everything in that time to make sure he was good to go once the business deal was handled. That's a testament to him. Our communication was about supporting him. I've been in that position as well. That's a brother and that goes beyond the football field. ... You don't need to worry about his side because he'll block his guy and that's done. What he offers the center and right tackle isn't something we can truly put into words. Best guard in this league."

Not only is Martin a superstar on the field -- his six First-Team All-Pro selections since entering the league in 2014 are the second most in that span behind future Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald's seven -- but the team captain is one of McCarthy's favorite lead-by-example presences in the Cowboys locker room. 

"So many ways on and off the field," McCarthy said when asked how Martin makes his teammates better. "Look at the way he trains and prepares. His training is top notch. He's super consistent and humble. He pays it forward and helps young guys. Has excellent relationships throughout the building. Other than that, when he puts his hand in the ground, he's really good. He does everything right. ... When you go through the spring and you install the runs and protections, a very high percentage of the time he's a part of that teaching reel," McCarthy said. "Obviously his reputation in the locker room and the leadership council, all of those things. It's very beneficial for his teammates [for Martin to be in camp], especially for the younger guys."

Terence Steele, the Cowboys' 26-year-old starting right tackle, couldn't contain his excitement when Martin, his partner along the right side of the Dallas offensive line returned. 

"I hugged him forever, everyone was smiling ear to ear," Steele said Tuesday. "He's the heartbeat of the team, one of the leaders. It was good to see him back here."

Martin was equally giddy about rejoining his teammates on Tuesday.

"My head hurt because I was smiling and laughing so much all day," Martin said. "I don't think I stopped talking from the moment I got here until I went to bed. It was great to see these guys. Three weeks doesn't seem that long, but when you're sitting in Dallas in 110 degree heat everyday, seeing your guys out there having fun out in training camp, it seems a little bit longer than it is... I'm grateful that it got done when it did to allow myself to have some time to get ready for week one. I definitely didn't want it to go up until that, because that comes with a whole bunch of other things to get ready for the season."

Since the 32-year-old missed the first few weeks of camp, he won't be jumping into any 11-on-11 action in practice this week. However, the Silver and Blue plan to have him ready to butt heads with defensive linemen again as early as next week.

"The goal for Zack is to ramp him up through individual work," McCarthy said. "I think you can understand he's been training, so he just wants to get in his pads and get moving. That's where we will start today and see how that goes. Maybe we'll do more tomorrow. We're going to be smart with him. ... He's just excited to get everything buttoned up this week, and then get into some live drills next week."