Free agency wheeling and dealing doesn’t begin until March but Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin picked up an early vote of confidence from his new head coach.
The Buccaneers officially introduced Dirk Koetter as the franchise’s replacement for Lovie Smith with a Friday afternoon press conference. About an hour later, the Bucs’ offensive coordinator-turned-head coach sat down with reporters in the media room for another Q-and-A session.
The nearly 25-minute discussion ended with a question regarding Martin, the NFL’s second-leading rusher this season behind Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson. The always-candid Koetter mentioned earlier that as head coach there will be times when he’ll have to temper his openness answering certain questions.
Those will come in the future because this wasn’t one of those moments.
“Tell Jason Licht that I want Doug Martin!” Koetter said smiling. “Tell Jason. I’m putting my name on that. I want Doug Martin to be a Buc, so you tell him.”
He was playing it up a little with the emphatic answer and table slaps, but the desire to keep Martin in pewter and red is no joke.
“Who wouldn’t want Doug Martin back?” Koetter added. “He’s a terrific football player, so of course we would like to have him back. Jason’s got control of that and I think he wants Doug back, too, but you guys have to get him on that one. But I’m pretty sure he does.”
After bursting onto the NFL scene by rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 2012, Martin struggled through two straight injury-plagued seasons before getting back on track this season. Tampa Bay chose not to exercise Martin’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract leading into the 2015 season and the feature back responded with 1,402 yards and six scores.
Along with Chicago’s Matt Forte, Martin will be one of the hottest running back commodities hitting the market this spring. Others include Miami’s Lamar Miller, New York Jets backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell, San Francisco’s Reggie Bush, Washington’s Alfred Morris, Denver’s C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman and New Orleans’ Khiry Robinson.
I hope we can sign him, but I leaning towards he will test his market value before signing up as a Buc.
For the right price, sure bring him back. but if he’s asking even top 3 RB money, I say let him test FA. I like Doug and all, but there’s no need to spend top dollar on the RB position these days. A good one can easily be found without consuming to much of a cap hit.
Franchise tag is not a bad idea. I think Doug ran extremely hard this year in part because he felt slighted that we didn’t pick up the option on his contract. So with the tag it would ensure that he gets paid, but also needs to keep running hard if he wants to see another contract. Again I like Doug and would like to see him back, but if for some reason he does not come back I won’t we be to concerned.
Just like we let michael bennett test FA??
We can always use the immortal Bobby Rainey, who by some accounts is the Bucs best back. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.
Good thought 76Buc. He’ll already be paid in the top three either way.
That name makes me cringe scu. That guy led the league in taking a knee on kickoffs
Yeah there’s no way we let him walk. Koetter was a big reason Dougie wasn’t traded last year. We have too many other needs to let the leagues second leading rusher walk out the door. And we have over 50+ million in cap space, not worries about what we pay him as our contracts are always worded so they can cut a player with no dead money after a year or two.
Franchise tag sounds good to me. He gets his money…..we get Doug for another year and see if he can stay healthy 2 years in a row.
I do think I would be looking for another running back in FA or the later rounds of the draft even if we tag him.
I wouldn’t Franchise Tag him as it’s way too much money. Either get him signed to a three to four year contract in the next two months or move on. Go Bucs
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