During the offseason Tampa Bay elected not to pick up the fifth-year option on Doug Martin’s rookie contract, opting instead for the “prove it” type approach with their fourth-year running back while making sure to put him in position to succeed.
Eleven games and 941 rushing yards later, including Sunday’s most recent 235-yard effort, it’s safe to say things have worked out for both parties.
“Is Doug Martin a priority? Yes, he definitely is,” head coach Lovie Smith said Monday, after praising Martin’s vision, instincts and ability to make people miss. “And I don’t think that’s a bad thing to go into the fifth year (without a contract extension). I think it’s helped Doug as much as anything. He’s in a great position right now.”
Whenever a player enters a lame duck year, there’s a common notion that a great season can put the team in an unfavorable position given that they’ll likely have to pay him more. Smith assured that wasn’t the case. From the player’s perspective, some believed Martin would feel disrespected by not getting re-signed before becoming a free agent. But that, according to Smith, was also never the case.
“I don’t think Doug came into the season thinking he wasn’t wanted around here. It’s the complete opposite of that,” Smith said. “We have acknowledged everything he’s done along the way and we have put him in a position to have the type of year he’s having right now.”
In four seasons, Martin has never looked more like a complete running back than he does now. That should pay off financially.
“If I’m Doug Martin, I’m pretty happy I didn’t sign a contract before,” Smith said. “I like the position I’m in right now.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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I’m not sure if we should be paying out these huge salary increases. In this case I would, but I would only do a deal for 3 years; all guaranteed, with an option year.
“If I’m Doug Martin, I’m pretty happy I didn’t sign a contract before,” Smith said. The contract for the 5th year option was 5.6mil. So expect a contract somewhere north of that. My guess would be a 4 year contract with 2 years guaranteed between 6.8 to 7.5mil. With 6 games to go and the Dougernaut lights it up like he did Sunday, it could be more!
Last sentence cont’d. …it could be more in the same area code as the LeSean McCoy contract.
I know I’m going to take heat for this so I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t re-sign Dougie unless it was for a 2 year deal with an option for a 3rd and I don’t think he’d be willing to take that. He’s injury prone at a position where a lot of teams have found productive players right out of the draft, even outside of the 1st round. T. Gurley, T.J. Yeldon, T. Coleman, David. Johnson, Duke Johnson, K. Williams and J. Langford all look like future stars in the NFL and they’re all cheaper than D. Martin. Also, as much as I like the way Dougie runs (I wear his jersey every Sunday) he has inconsistent hands. I just think it’s a wiser use of the team’s resources to sign Martin for 2 years and if he doesn’t sign for that, draft E. Elliott. I think they’re both basically the same type of RB.
I forgot to add T. Rawls to the list of future star rookie RB’s.
Actually PInk, what you say makes plenty of sense. Although I would add one more year to that. Maybe give him a three year deal with an option for a 4th. That would put him in line to be 30 when his contract is up. As for drafting a rb this year, I can’t stand Elliot, and now that he has no problem throwing a coach under the bus I want nothing to do with this guy, not to mention he runs against big ten defenses.
I would hold off till the following year when you have the studs like cook and Fournette coming out to get another RB. We need secondary and line help long before another RB.
P.S. I know drafting E. Elliott would mean we wouldn’t get S/CB Ramsey, CB Hargreaves or DE Bosa in the 1st round, but at this point I’m assuming we’ll be drafted at the 12th spot or later and they’ll likely all be gone by then. I’m not a fan of Bosa anyway.
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