Despite a few tense moments over the last two months, and numerous report that free agent running back Doug Martin would hit the open market on Wednesday afternoon, the three main players in the negotiation said they were never too concerned that a deal wouldn’t be reached.
While there were plenty of anxious moments for Bucs fans, and some in the media, the Buccaneers and Martin’s camp were able to reach an agreement on a five-year, $35.75 million dollar deal with over $15 guaranteed.
Less than two hours after the deal was announced, Bucs general manager Jason Licht, head coach Dirk Koetter and Doug Martin talked not just about the dynamics of the deal, but also the confidence they all had that it would get done.
Licht began Wednesday’s press conference.
“I said before, with any negotiation there are obstacles. But one thing that helped was his desire to be here and our desire to want him,” Licht said from the podium at One Bucs Place. “There is always some bickering back and forth with any negotiation, but at the end of the day, 99.9 percent of this was pretty easy. Like I said, he’s earned his money and we wanted to reward him. He’s earned every penny and we’re excited for him.”
Last January after he was announced as head coach of the Buccaneers, Koetter told the local media while banging on the conference table in the media workroom, he wanted Martin back and to tell Licht he said so. PewterReport.com reminded Koetter about that exchange, and he laughed when asked if there had been any more table pounding.
No, everybody was transparent in this deal,” Koetter said smiling. ” We wanted Doug back all along. Doug said he wanted to be back. Doug said he likes it here. He’s a popular guy in the locker room because of the style of play he has. Doug was our top choice all along. And thankfully it got done today.”
Koetter then talked about why Martin is a special back.
From the very first day of OTAs to the very last day of the season, every time Doug touched the ball on the practice field he hit the hole hard, he hit it full speed and he made it like it was a real play,” Koetter said. “So when he had success even in the preseason games last year, it wasn’t a surprise, because that’s how he looked in practice every day. And I think Doug, when he came back last year and went back to work he definitely had something to prove. He had that mindset and was able to carry it all the way through.”
Martin spoke to the media via a conference call on Wednesday afternoon and addressed the concerns that maybe his success in 2015 was strictly because it was a contract year.
Photo by: Mark LoMoglio/PR
“I think it’s going to be better than last year,” Martin said. “The year prior to that… If you look to the previous year when I was hurt, we didn’t really have an offensive coordinator or and weren’t really as potent of an offense. This coming year we have something to build on and I’m ready for the challenge. If anything, I think it’s going to get better.”
While many wee concerned that the Bucs might lose Martin, it was Licht’s son who may have been the good luck charm.
“I think every player – you know he really didn’t get a chance to hit the actual free agency at four today – but every player wants to test their market and see what their value is,” Licht said. “I think our value was the same as everyone else, and he wanted to be here. The whole time, he wanted to be here.
“I told him today after we signed, I said on the day I was introduced here as the general manager I took a picture with my family on stage, and my now seven year old had a Doug Martin jersey on. I thought that was a prelude of things to come. He texted me back, “Smart boy.'”
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
Best news of the day. He came in last year in great shape and earned this contract… Now, if they can just get out to more leads at half this year, he may actually be the #1RB in the NFL
Licht is off to a good start. Smart move signing Dougie!
Glad Licht didn’t take the advice of some of the less than savvy fans out here who wanted to keep him at 4 to 5 million a year.
Lamar Miller got over $6 million dollars and hasn’t produced like Doug.
Hell, the Bucs should have given Martin retroactive combat pay for making him run in that nightmare called an offense run by Mark Arroyo in 2014.
As a matter of fact, the whole offense should have gotten combat pay for having to play in whatever he was trying to do.
Can you for once give the Glazers some credit for stroking the check?
We’re also glad the glazers and licht didn’t take your advice and throw 10 million a year at him. Doug got exactly what most of us thought.
You said no more than 5 mil a yr he got 7
Glad they got this signing done ! Love the way martin runs through a small crack and gets 40 or even 50 yards .GO BUCS
I think this was a great signing. If you really look at it, Doug’s career is younger than the years he’s been in the league since he had a couple of years where he missed most of the season due to injuries. So his legs are a little fresher than the average second contract player. Lets just hope he can stay healthy. I think it will happen with this OL they are building here. Definitely good things to come.
Fans talked all week how slow Martin was and we played against bad tackling defenses, now they will wear his jersey again and pretend they never said one bad thing about him, typical how fickle Tampa Fans are
You’re right about that jonnyg. But I doubt it’s only here in sunny Florida.
Scu- I have lived in AZ past 16 yrs and lived in N Cali for 4 yrs, S Cali for 10 ys, and Fl for 8 yrs so I can say without a doubt that Florida Fans are the most fickle fans out there.
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