The Senior Bowl is not only a place where all 32 teams watch the best senior talent available in the NFL Draft as well as the NFL’s largest job market, it’s also a place where agents and general managers meet to begin preliminary contract talks. PewterReport.com has learned that such discussions have taken place between Bucs general manager Jason Licht and agent David Dunn regarding a contract extension with Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin.
The two were seen talking in the stands of Ladd-Peebles Stadium, and a source confirms that Martin was the topic of the discussion. The entire Bucs organization wants Martin, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, to be re-signed after rushing for 1,402 yards, which was the second-most in the league this year, and six touchdowns.
Martin was eligible for a fifth-year option due to the fact that he was a first-round pick in 2012, but Licht turned it down, which gave the Boise State product every incentive to have a big year as he is slated for free agency in 2016. New Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter, who was the team’s offensive coordinator last year, vehemently told reporters that he wanted a new contract for Martin, who is slated to become a free agent in March.
“Tell Jason Licht that I want, I want Doug Martin back!” Koetter said. “Tell Jason – I’m putting my name on it. I want Doug Martin to be a Buc. Tell him. Who wouldn’t want Doug Martin back? He’s a terrific football player. Of course, we would love to have him back. Jason has control of that. I think Jason wants Doug back, too. You will have to get [Licht] on that but I’m pretty sure he does.”
Martin has also expressed interest in staying with the Bucs and playing for Koetter.
“I love Tampa,” Martin said in November when discussing his desire to remain in red and pewter. “I built a house here. I love it here.
“It’s my fourth year here, and I’ve got a lot of relationships right here. I just love Tampa.”
The Bucs have looked at Martin’s entirety with the team as a whole when assessing his value. He had two injury-filled years sandwiched between two Pro Bowl seasons in Tampa Bay. Both sides remain hopeful of reaching a consensus on a new contract prior to the start of free agency on March 9. The one thing Tampa Bay does not plan on doing is using the franchise tag on Martin.