11 October 2015: Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) breaks a tackle from Jacksonville Jaguars free safety Sergio Brown (38) on his way to the end zone for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter of the NFL Week 5 game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
In a development that most saw coming, the Buccaneers elected not to use the franchise tag on Doug Martin before the 4 p.m. deadline on Tuesday.
This move could now enable the 27-year old running back to test free agency, where he’ll presumably be looking for a long-term deal that pays in the $7-8 million range – or even more – per year. The Buccaneers can still work out a deal with Martin prior to the opening of free agency on March 9, just over a week away, however.
As previously noted on Thursday, the NFL raised the salary cap to approximately $155 million and forces each team to spend at least 89 percent of their space. The Raiders and Jaguars – two teams rumored to be interested in Martin – were under the 89 percent, and could now be even more likely to land Martin.
Bucs fans now have to hope that no team makes him an offer he can’t refuse, or that he’s quietly working out a deal to stay in Tampa. What seems to be clear is that the Bucs are sticking their ground – likely a contract worth no more than $5-7 million – and that Martin first wants to see if another team is willing to break the bank for his services.
It appears both sides are standing firm in their negotiations, and there is a good chance Martin will be able to see what is out there in terms of a contract from another team. And both sides feel they have very good cases.
Martin’s agent, David Dunn, has plenty of ammunition when sitting down at the negotiation table. The former Boise State standout rushed for 1,402 yards in a Pro Bowl season in 2015, leading the NFL in runs over 20 yards (14), and helped propel the Bucs offense to a franchise record for offensive production last season, doing so with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Dunn will also point out that the combination of Martin and Charles Sims produced one of the league’s best one-two punch at running back, and that according to ProFootballFocus.com, Martin graded out at as the NFL’s top running back for elusiveness, forcing 67 missed tackles last season.
Add in the fact that new head coach Dirk Koetter and rookie QB Jameis Winston have both openly campaigned for Martin to be re-signed, and at first glance, Dunn and Martin have more chips on their side of the table.
Tampa Bay’s front office would certainly agree to all of Dunn’s points, but would bring up the fact Martin fumbled five times in 2015, second to just Adrian Peterson in the NFL. Martin also had two less than stellar seasons in 2013 and ’14 following his breakout rookie season of 2012, where he rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns and earned his first Pro Bowl berth. The Bucs could also point out, that despite Martin’s rushing yardage totals, he only found the end zone six times in 2015, putting him a tie for 12th among NFL running backs.
While it isn’t all doom and gloom moving forward for the Bucs and Martin, by not placing the franchise tag on the “Dougernaut,” the Bucs feel comfortable that both parties will find mutual ground and Martin remains in pewter and red for the foreseeable future.
–Zach Shapiro contributed to this report
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t know who or what to believe on the Doug Martin contract issue anymore. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk shared that he’s confident the running backs market this season will be depressed in the wake of the Eagles getting burned by DeMarco Murray’s $8-million-per-year contract and weak production last year.
Florio said he expects normalcy to return to the world of running backs, which have been devalued by NFL teams steadily for years. He projected Martin would find a free agency market that would pay him $4 million” per year. Florio also said the Bucs might structure an incentive-laden deal for Martin with that $4 million as a base.
Maybe there’s a deal struck that will allow Martin to actually see where the market is before the hard negotiations begin. The only way to do that is to test FA. Jason Licht says not to worry, he has a backup plan. He doesn’t seem to be all concerned about the situation so I’m not going to get all het up about it either!
If that’s what Florio is saying, then he’s a fool. Shane Vereen got $4M last offseason as a pure receiving back when the cap was $10M less than it is now. LeSean McCoy got $8M himself. The offseason before last, Jamaal Charles got more than $9M per year. Mark my words – $4m might not even be half of what Doug gets on the open market.
What I don’t know abow the GM views and what plan to go forward. Tampa Bay has all this cap space. Tampa Bay needs to get the deal done then go on to Veterans FA along the defensive linemen,LB,and Offensive Tackle if Mankins leaves,Then do Tampa Bay fans in the draft with a CB,Safety,DE,DT, and a WR and maybe a sleeper at CB position.Thats what I would do.Go Bucs
He’s gone. Sux!
We let Blount get away, why would we keep martin ?
Macabee,agree with you. RB values are down, not up. I sure hope Doug wakes up soon.
If he is only asking for $7-8M/yr then why the hell didn’t resign him? Epic mistake if this comes true.
Because Licht is doing the correct thing and letting him test the market. We can match any other teams offer. IF we payed him 7-8 million without testing the market we COULD be overpaying. We have no reason to not let him test the market if we are going to pay him that much.
I am resigning myself to life without Martin….but if we don’t spend the money on someone else and just sit on a pile of unspent cap I’m going to start calling for Licht’s head…no problem if we pass on Martin so that we can throw a bucket load of cash at Mario or Eric…but spend it on somebody, don’t give me some BS about getting burned by Johnson and Collins…don’t care…if at first you don’t succeed try try again!
What about if we throw a bucket of cash at Mario (Eric Berry got the franchise tag Tuesday, so he’s not an option) and someone else, and we’re still $25M under the cap? Cuz that will upset me, too, especially with an additional $30M or so coming off the books within the next year (Mankins $7M, VJ $10M, Carter $4M, Hawley $4M, Cherilus $5M). The only way I’d be moderately okay with not resigning Doug is if we spend something like $40M in free agency this year….which is very clearly not happening.
I agree completely. If the Bucs are committed to not taking big chances on high priced free agents, then they have plenty of money to retain the proven talent they have. This brinksmanship over 1-2% of their salary cap is myopic beancounting.
Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy, and Vincent Jackson don’t produce when they’re too injured to play, either. I don’t see why we’re holding Martin’s healed injuries against him. This is why it’s so hard to like Bucs management. They lost Doug Williams, Steve Young, Aqib Talib, Legarette Blount, Michael Bennett, and they’re leaving Martin’s fate up to the whims of the marketplace. Dim-witted, to say the least.
Here’s a guarantee: if the absolute highest we’re willing to go to keep Doug is $7M, no matter what, then he’s either gone, or he ends up taking less money than he could get elsewhere to stay. That will not be the top of his market. Count that as a guarantee. People sitting here saying that one signing that didn’t work out well for one team (Demarco Murray to the Eagles) will destroy any substantial demand for RBs this offseason are delusional.
As long as things are kept amicable between the parties there’s a chance a deal gets done. Heck, even the Adrian Peterson debacle got resolved. Sit tight folks and take macabee’s avatar’s “What, me worry?” attitude.
If any here play fantasy football, you’ll know not to over pay a back, here’s why. Most don’t last a season, you better have more then one. Check your fantasy waiver wire for backs about mid season, more then half are on I.R.. The odds of ending the season with the same starting running back aren’t very high. Don’t over pay. Plus the wear, and tear a back has going into his second contract. You’re better off using a 1st,threw 3rd round pick on a back every 4,5 years then over paying for a back who’s best 4 years are behind him.
I play fantasy football and there is a reason Adrian Peterson is drafted #1 in most leagues for the past 5 years. He is dominant. Yes, Doug Martin was hurt in year 2 and 3 in Tampa, but those injuries were injuries that he might not have gotten in the current scheme. The torn labrum occurred on a 50 yard wheel route in Schiano’s offense and Jeff Tedford/Marcus Arroyo’s offense in 2014 was PUTRID. I think it helps his value that he didn’t take hits/abuse in those years. Martin is a top RB in the league in this offense and has his best years ahead of him, here or Oakland.
One good year…two bad years…another good year….2 more bad years. A good offensive line MAKES a running back along with the commitment to RUN the football.. We are getting there. We can pickup a back in FA or draft. It’s not doom and gloom if he leaves.
Sims led the league in yards per touch under Koetter. I’m confident that the scheme and coaching will make any RB successful for the Bucs. Dougie is good but he’s not the sole key to this offense. I believe there is a SB coming soon for the Bucs with or without him. I would prefer with.
I still don’t think Martin leaves. The Bucs look like for the next several years will have very strong o-line. That has to be part of Martin’s thought process. If Martin stays the possibility of them pickling Stanley and basically putting a brick wall up for him to run behind even strengthens the Bucs position
I would like to see Martin back as well, but it makes sense for both sides to see if/what other teams are going to offer Martin (if any). Martin would like to show the team that his value is higher than what the team is offering, and the team is hoping other teams will offer lower than he expects. Just seems like negotiations to me, but obviously, if some other team wants to break the bank for Dougie, then yes, we will lose him. Personally, I don’t think that he is a $8-9M RB, but if he can get it, then the more power to him. He is replaceable.
If we let Dougie walk I may be right behind him, it will be just be another example of this team not being committed to winning, did we learn nothing from Warrick Dunn? We are 50 mil under cap and that’s before we cut EDS, Carter, and Verner not including if Mankins retires. If Dougie goes elsewhere than we will have to suffer and watch him get 1,400+ with someone else, keep in mind Doug got most of those yds in only the first half of football games as we liked to go with Sims in the second half. Get your head out of your ass Tampa and sign the best player on offense
If your going to reply with ” we can just draft a RB to replace Doug Martin” go ahead I need a laugh today while at work or better yet tell me anyone could run behind the stellar blocking of Stocker
You should never let someone go unless they have no value or you have their replacement identified. We don’t have a replacement identified. And we have a ton of money to spend. There is no good reason to allow him to leave…which probably means we will let him leave.
Agree that we all want Martin back as a Buc next year. But we don’t have all the facts – is he asking for $10M/year or a 5-year deal or something else unreasonable or has his agent simply advised to wait until March 7th to see other teams’ interest? We don’t know if the team is being fair or not either. It takes two sides to make a deal and we don’t know the facts. So any suggestion that the team is committed to losing because he hasn’t signed yet or if he is ultimately allowed to walk for stupid money is unreasonable. His signing has to fit within the big picture of the entire team.
jogruden, despite you once again ragging on Stocker, I agree with your sentiments about Martin.
The young man led the league in breaking tackles last year and was the second leading rusher.
The team has to many other viable needs to draft without picking a viable RB up at 2 or 3.
Add to the fact the Bucs have over $50 million of unused cap money laying around so it’s not exactly like they are hurting for money.
If the Bucs let Martin go that will be the final straw. I will cancel my season tickets which I have had for 35 years.
It will indicate to me that despite the regime changes, the same idiots are making the same mistakes over and over again.
We resign morons like Quincy Black, Mike Williams and Michael Clayton for way more money than their past production merited, yet we let go of a real weapon in Martin.
Can I remind everyone the Bucs aren’t so overwhelmed with talent and offensive weapons that w can let one just walk away.
Just read a report that the Giants are interested in Martin which isn’t surprising since they wanted him in the first place. The guy they drafted at RB in the same year right behind Martin got permanently injured and is out of the game.
Bet here the Giants won’t even blink at paying him $7.5 mill a year because they know their fans demand championship teams as do their owners.
I’m beginning to believe the Glazer boys are just trying to turn a huge profit and like most rich greed heads, would rather that money be in their pocket than a valuable employee.
The Glazer boys typify the top 1 percent of the people in this country that hold close to 80 percent of the wealth.
And like the majority of wealthy people, they didn’t have to work for it, they inherited it.
You were doing real well talking football. Too bad you had to throw in your political views.
Yes nmkinley, the Bucs used your logic with Doug Williams and we all see how well that worked out.
Keep shopping at Wal Mart.
Maybe one, or both sides is being unreasonable in their expectations. Testing the market will show both sides where Doug’s demand is and hopefully negotiations will move on from there. Licht doesn’t seem like the type of GM to let a valuable weapon walk for no good reason. I’m sure this is just both sides doing their due diligence and finding out the market value before spending money. I still believe the Dougernaught will be in red and pewter next year.
I agree plopes. In the big picture, who really cares if Martin is resigned on March 2 or on March 9? If they can agree to terms, then he will be a Buccaneer. But bad teams make stupid decisions, and agreeing to guarantee Martin too much money for too many years just to satisfy the masses would qualify as being unwise. Fingers crossed that they come to terms.
I love all of the overreaction here from fans giving up their season tickets if Dougie goes.
Really guys? Please enlighten me the last running back to take his team to the super bowl. Don’t worry I’ll check later for the zero reposes I get. We don’t even know what Doug is demanding. Suppose he is asking for 8 – 10 million a year. That’s ridiculous for a running back and stupid contracts like that are what take you from our cap situation to a situation like the Aints are in.
Licht is doing the smart thing and letting him see his market value. Suppose no one offers him more than 6 or 7 a year when he wanted 2 million a year more than that? Then we resign him anyways cheaper than what he asked for. C’mon people, he’s a running back, not a QB.
As a GM you play chess not checkers and maybe there is more pressing needs in free agency Licht wants to get, you know, on defense.
Now if we let Dougie go for cheap and don’t do anything in free agency, then I will be right there with you guys screaming from the mountain tops.
Unless you have a Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers at the qb position then u need a running game ask the Seahawks how important Marshawn was? WE don’t have any resemblance of a defense so we need a juggernaut of an offense to have any chance at winning, a balanced offense will keep the pressure off our young qb in Winston to always make plays and keep it in third and short rather than 3rd in long and to take advantage of the play action. We are 50 mil under cap we have a 33 yr old WR in D JAx to account for 13 mil this yr but that’s ok we don’t want a rb in his prime for 8 mil a yr? that makes no sense what so ever, if you want to build a championship team you don’t let your key pieces walk and try and replace them with the unknown commodity in rookies. Doug Martin deserves a big contract we have tons of space and can create more with cutting players like EDS, Carter, and Verner 13 mil to be in fact and again with Mankins possibly retiring that with save another few mil a yr. It makes no sense at all to let some other team willing to pay him and we can watch him with his success as we go back to the 3.3 yds a carry replacement in a Michael Pitmman wannabe have we learned nothing from the sins of our past?
and before you mention Denver won with an aging qb and no running game let me remind you we don’t have a top ten defense of all time in Tampa to mask our weaknesses
the best player in the draft might be there at no 9 ezekiel elliott
^unproven commodity- google top ten rb’s in past 15 yrs see the success rate
I believe the OC makes a RB more than RB makes an Offense (in almost all cases). So I’m not concern if Martin walks. Look at how many teams lost their star RB and were still competitive (KC, PIT,AZ even SEA).
Also if you go back to Martin’s 1st year, although his total stats were good, he was very inconsistent from week to week. Remember he had one 251 yard week.
Are these the same fans who wanted to place James Wilder in the ring of hhonor who only had 1,300 plus twice in a 9 yr career in Tampa? The fact we have an awesome back and i hear “isn’t worth the money, its a system by the o-coordinator” is not only disturbing but appauling, I follow the Cardinals I never hear such stupid comments about their players like I do on this site, Stocker 60 yds for the yr fans love him , Martin 1,400 yds rushing who cares let him go I don’t get it Drdnest at least you see Martin for what he is, Stocker puzzles me
jongruden; What are you talking about? Also your Rams are no different than the Bucs. Both have been lousey teams for more years than not. You don’t pay 8 million to a RB who have been on IR 2 of 4 years. Comeon! where’s your common sense? I hope the Rams sign him for 8-10 million.
Horse- Cardinals not Rams btw, and the Cardinals would never let a two time 1,400 rusher in 4 yrs walk nor do they praise their blocking TE in Troy Nicklas or give him player of the week awards for a 22 yd game, different mind set in two different cities I guess
jongruden; okay excuse me, Cardinals. It’s still the same though. I hope the best to the Cardinals that they sign Doug Martin for more than 10 millions and a 20 million guaranteed. Go Cardinals!
I love Martin when he is healthy, but I wouldn’t break the bank to keep him. Running backs have a very short shelf life in the NFL. I would prefer to sign Mack for 8+ million a year and shore up the OL and draft a RB in the 4-5 round, then pay any running back 8 million a year not named Adrian Peterson. I also trust Jason Licht, he has made very sound decisions, particularly in the draft.
Horse, the Cardinals have a full staple of RB’s and certainly don’t need Martin.
I’m not sure where you are getting those numbers unless you are using AP’s number or the franchise tag numbers.
Franchise tag numbers are created by averaging the top 5 paid RB’s salary.
With that being said and with Doug being the No. 2 running back from last year, what is so outrageous about paying Martin $10 mill and saying he is overpaid.
Besides, have u heard any whisper anywhere about the Bucs being interested in any top tier FA’s to use all that unused cap money on.
I sure haven’t.
What are they holding in to it for.
Adrian Foster was going to make $6.5 mill this year if he was healthy and still with the team.
Don’t you think the Texans would have gladly paid that if he hadn’t blown out his Achilles. Foster was also injured a lot during his career as well.
Quit trying to save the Bucs money. They aren’t going to spend it anyway and the fans will be left with another disappointing year as the greedy Glazere boys stuff every extra dollar they can into their pocket.
if they don’t resign Martin, it is living proof all they care about is putting more money into their pockets, not in fielding a competitive team.
Thought I would share with you readers a letter I just sent he Bucs,
I am aware of that, but a contract should already have been done.
What are the Bucs waiting for?
Martin can now listen to offers from other teams.
Do you think with all the unused cap money teams like the Giants and Raiders who don’t have a RB close to Martin’s skill set will sit around and worry about paying him maybe $1 million more than he is worth in his first year.
In two years he will be underpaid the way salary structures keep going up in the NFL.
I have told you previously the most paramount matter to me in regards to this team and for me to continue to be a season pass holder is for them to win. I am sick of watching losing football and listening to the excuses.
I have been a fan since 1977 and have seen maybe 8 out of 40 winning seasons. That is pathetic.
This ownership needs to get its priorities in order.
Quit worrying about investing huge amounts of money in big screen TVs and stadium upgrades to the uber rich fans that I continually get emails about and invest it in quality personnel instead.
I know this is a novel concept for the Glazer boys to accept, but it actually works to pay proven workers with skills that the competition desires to acquire.
Please inform the Glaser boys there are a lot of fans who feel the same way as I do and want them to quit running this team like a McDonald’s franchise. or some service industry related business.
I will continue to point out these facts to other fans I speak with and let them know why I might not renew my season ticket package after 35 years.
drdneast, I was just trying to play with Jon a little about paying Martin more than what he was worth. I know the Cardinals have already good running backs.
Horse- We lost Doug Williams over $250,000 and lost W Dunn in free agency who went on and rushed for over 1,200 yds 5 times in our own division after Dunn we had Pittman, Graham, Cadillac of two yrs, Legerret Blount, Derrick Ward etc Doug Martin rushed for 1,400 or more twice in 4 yrs and was coming back from ankle and shoulder injuries the other two yrs, you really think we have the luxury of saying good bye to Martin and going forward with Sims as our feature back? BTW the Cards have a rb named David Johnson a young stud much like Martin and believe me this the Cards wouldn’t let him walk for nothing after a 1,400 yd campaign they aren’t stupid
Jon, Doug was a QB; didn’t we win a SB with Dunn? By the way I wasn’t happy that Dunn wasn’t paid because he played injured and didn’t miss many games.
Drdneast,jongruden; I believe this is a team concept sport and I believe we should spend up to 95% of the cap money. The question is how do we spend this money. I’m more in favor of taking contracts with one year left and extending those contract who are our good team players. Who are some of these players? Glennon (if he is truely our back up for years to come we should pay him at least 3 Million a year); Kwon Alexander; sign him to a new contract now; Banks if he is in the scheme to start or be in a rotation; Sims since we plan on using him in some kind of a rotation for years to come; Evans, extend his contract for another additional 3 years; Humphries, sign him for 3 years and two of it guaranteed; our young TE who surprised everyone for 3 years and 2 guaranteed, sorry I forgot his name; Pamphile extend his contract for 3 years and guarantee 2 years; Hawley, extend his contract for two additional years and guarantee the next two years; Spense extend his contract two years and guarantee it; Martin, 5 million a year and guarantee the first 2 years. There’s more, but I’ll stop. My point again is to pay those who are earning to be paid more now because they are playing good should be rewarded now for it.
Horse, Martin was set to earn $5.5 million this year if the Bucs had picked up his option and now I am sure they wish they had because it would have been a bargain.
The top 5 RB salaries average $10 million a year.
Trying to pay Martin $5 million a year is just plain ludicrous. I am sure Martin and his agent would have a big laugh over that.
They will then sign with any team between $7 and $8 million and not even bother to give the Bucs a courtesy call before they signed after receving an offer like that.
Why talk to someone who wasn’t even serious about negotiating.
Horse- you seem very worried about the Glaziers pockets do realize we gave a 33 yr old wr in Djax due to make 13 mil this yr and your not up in arms over that? things that make you go hmmmm
Vjax is a good player who can still play; he’s a solid citizen within the community; he supports the Veterans/Military and has shown his generosity over and over. A 13 year career with a small part of that in missing games. Is he overpaid, yes; he gets his money because he has represented the Bucs well since he has been here. Also I left out the word not when I referenced Dunn and the SB; he left the year before and we won a SB without him.
Horse- no need to try and educate me on Dunn and us winning the sb without him, we won cause of our defense and solid play from Brad Johnson, we had Mr. Pittman who averaged around 3.4 yds a carry so in spite of the rb position we won. Point was look at Dunn stats after he left and look at our rb stats after he left then you will get it. Gone are the days of Lynch, barber, Sapp and Brooks, Kelly Quarles, our defense now sucks worst in league we need to win with 0ur offense like we did last yr without Martin there will be less wins- FACT
That is so true jongruden and the bet here is if we did cut Vjax no GM in there right mind would pay the guy more than 8 million because of his age.
But let me make this clear, I am not advocating that. The Bucs have more than enough money to pay both Jackson and Martin.
The Bucs, however, seem to determined to hold on to every last dollar they have and do it on the cheap.
That is not how you build a championship team.
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