The Dallas Cowboys were ripped when they made center Travis Frederick a first-round pick in 2013.
Now, 48 consecutive starts and two Pro Bowls later, Frederick is the highest paid center in the NFL. The Cowboys and Frederick have reached a six-year, $56.4 million extension with $28.2 million guaranteed ($18.2 million fully guaranteed) that locks him through 2023.
That surpasses Miami’s Mike Pouncey for highest overall value. Pouncey signed a five-year, $52.15 million deal before the 2015 season. Alex Mack still has the most guaranteed money for a center, as the Atlanta Falcons guaranteed $28.5 of his five-year, $45 million contract this past offseason.
But Frederick downplayed any perceived pressure by being the “highest paid.”
“I think there’s always been a little bit of pressure,” Frederick said. “Everyone doubted me being drafted in the first round. … But we [as an offensive line group] know that it doesn’t matter to us what anybody else thinks. It’s about what happens in our room and how we can live up to our standards.”
Frederick has done that, and those within the organization appreciate how he handles himself on and off the field. Frederick joked that he had no interest in “celebrating” his contract extension in Hollywood, saying: “Do I look like a Hollywood guy?”
Coach Jason Garrett once again raved about Frederick being a leader of what many regard as the best offensive line in the league.
“Travis is a cornerstone guy,” Garrett said. “He’s such a leader for our offensive line, he’s a leader for our offense, he’s a leader on our team. Really well respected, sets the tone, sets the standard, outstanding football player, certainly a guy we want around here for a long time.”
As far as when people questioned the Cowboys drafting Frederick, Garrett replied: “We don’t spend a lot of time worrying what other people think. We focus on how we want to build our team, the kind of players we want to bring in, and in his case, really someone we believe is a cornerstone player and we felt that about him at the time.
“He was a very good college football player and sometimes people get caught up in the wrong things when you evaluate him. We felt good about him, we were excited to draft him, we are excited to have him on our team and extend him for a long time.”