After a disappointing 5-11 season in 2017 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was likely that there were going to be some changes to the roster after we learned there weren’t going to be any changes to the coaching staff. One of those changes is that the team will be moving on from long-time running back Doug Martin. The expected move was first reported by Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud.

The team is moving on from Martin after having him in Tampa Bay for the last six years. Martin was a first round selection by the Buccaneers in the 2012 NFL draft. The team saves $6,750,000 in cap for the 2018 season and saves $20,750,000 in total over the next three years, which was the length of his current deal. There is no penalty for cutting Martin on his deal due to the fact that he was suspended by the league during the time of the contract (which negates all guaranteed money).

Martin’s career in Tampa started off as good as you could want. After earning the starting job as a rookie, Martin rushed for 1,454 yards on a workhorse load of 319 carries with 11 touchdowns. He finished 5th in the league that year in total rushing yards. Martin was off to another great start in his second season, but a shoulder injury sidelined him after just six games. In 2014, Martin again had the injury bug float around him as an knee sprain and ankle sprain allowed him to play just 11 games and rush for only 494 yards. The following season, then fully healthy, Martin was back to his rookie form and rushed for 1,402 yards with six touchdowns in a contract year.

Following that 2015 where he nearly won the league rushing title, Martin signed a 5-year, $35,750,000 contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including $15,000,000 guaranteed, with an average annual salary of $7,150,000. Unfortunately, he since hasn’t lived up to it.

In 2016, Martin pulled his hamstring and was out for five total weeks not including the games in which he injured and re-injured his hamstring. On top of that, he was suspended at the end of the 2016 season for four games due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. That suspension bled over into 2017, a season where Martin played in 11 games, but only started eight as the running back rotation began to move on without him as the focal point due to a decline in reliability in play.

 

Martin’s 4,633 rushing yards as a Buccaneer make him No. 4 back in franchise history behind only Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott and James Wilder.

Martin turned 29 in January of 2018, and though the Buccaneers believe it was time to move on, he has had two season of high success in the league. Some team will surely be interested.

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Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

27 COMMENTS

  1. Good riddance! Now get a FA RB even if we are planning on drafting a RB. My favorites are Carlos Hyde, Dion Lewis and Bell(Dare to dream).

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  2. Buh-bye. You had some good times and some low points, it’s time to move on for all parties.

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  3. No real surprise, even to Martin I would guess. Looking forward to getting some fresh blood in the RB room. Curious what they do with Sims and Rodgers as well, though those moves will probably be made later in the year. Like Barber as a depth back, not sure he’s ready to tote the load though. Btw, great article on him by Jenna over on ESPN re: him overcoming his dyslexia, definitely worth a read.

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    • Forgot Sims was a FA, hoping the team lets him move on. And i guess we have to credit Jenna with her “bold prediction” of Martin’s release now, right? 😉

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  4. Wish Doug Martin well on his next endeavors.The Bucs should select one of RB Isaiah Crowell/Browns 5-11 225, Orleans Darkwa/Giants 5-11 219, Jeremy Hill/Bengals 6-1 230, or Carlos Hyde/49ers 6-0 238 to complement the RB stable in addition to a draft pick. Demarco Murray will be cut by the Titans, but is injury prone and turns 30 in February. And no, the price/value ratio doesn’t work for Le’Veon Bell/Steelers besides word is he will be tagged later today. Hyde would be my first choice but we’ll get competition for him. If we get a good left guard any Buc RB is going to be better. Go Bucs!

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    • I with you macabee
      Hyde would be a very good signing for the Bucs.

      I also really want the Bucs to pursue Lamarcus Joyner S LA RAMS and Andrew Norwell OG Panthers, assuming they are not franchised.

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      • There’s a couple of nice options in FA RB’s, along with some good ones in the draft. Definitely the right year to revamp the RB room. Like Joyner (along with Burnett and a few others) as a S addition, and Norwell as well. Have read there’s a good chance both make it to FA, but anything can happen between now and March 14th.

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  5. Saw someone created a new nickname for him already – Muscle Dumpster. Kinda funny, but a bit harsh.

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  6. Very disappointed Doug’s career and probably life cannot be salvaged. I believe these weird cases of good people living turbulent lives are more nurture than nature – society, in my opinion, failed someone again.

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  7. SHOCKER! This is just another one of the good decisions in the offseason to improve this team. I wish him luck in the next chapter of his career. The FA at the top of my list would be Crowell.

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    • Are we not counting Bell?

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  8. I wish Doug well. With the right team could be a good back up.

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  9. He will now end up a patriot, win the Super Bowl and be its mvp, lol

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  10. Finally the decision to release Martin became a no brainer, and Licht responded. To bad he didn’t see it last year when most of us did.

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  11. Martin, Baker, Aryers will all be gone shortly. I also think Gholston should go too unless he takes less Ashish performance was dispointing.

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    • Not as down with releasing Ayers, or Gholston for that matter, as most. There’s not a ton of decent DE’s out there, and Ayers has provided decent production and only has a $6M dollar cap hit next year, while Gholston’s is $6.5M (btw, there’s more to DE production than just sack stats). Would like to see what Buckner can do with them, along with some new additions. If you added Ealy and Okafor along with a draft pick, would you rather have Ayers and Gholston as part of that DE rotation or say Russell and O’Connor? If you’re looking to save cash, how about just adding a quality G and C in FA or the draft and drop Sweezy as a post-June 1st cut? His cap hit this year is $6.5M, which is money you could put toward Norwell or Jansen.

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  12. Not surprised by the move, just can’t help to wonder if we’ve had a fair take on him the past 2 years. Since Koetter moved to HC, the offense has sputtered without any real identity and the OL (in my opinion) has been incredibly underwhelming.

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  13. I’m not going to lie, I was scared e were going to keep him. Bye Bye Dougie, wish you well, but you can pull a guy off the street and average what he has the last couple of years. Time to get a back in FA and another in the draft. But for the love of god , do not trade up for Barkley.

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  14. Good

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  15. Good luck Doug, it’s been a rocky ride with the injuries, suspension, and in some cases play calling but there were times when you were fun to watch and for that I hope you can further your career.

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  16. That was a respectable send off by Dougie. He was definitely a Buccaneer with the signature up and down performances. At least we know for certain we’ll pick up a RB in FA, the draft or both. Unfortunately Licht will do the picking so I am pessimistic we will end up with a good RB. None of the RB’s he has drafted or signed are good. P. Barber doesn’t excite me as I think he is an average RB.

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  17. Just an observation, but interesting that the only HC or GM he didn’t thank was Lovie Smith.

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  18. A very classy letter from a classy guy. Sometimes? Change is good. Don’t be surprised to see Martin end up like Blount with 2 rings. Martin will be fine in a new enviroment and energized. His time was up here. Personally I can remeber when my co-workers laughed at me for leaving a job 20 yrs ago, today, they are still barely getting by where as I have more than quadtripled that salary. So change can be good. Good luck Dougie!

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  19. Well he will sign with a superbowl team get a ring like all x bucs. Talib, Bennett, Blount,and more.

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  20. And as the Detroit Lions’ adopted theme song of 1981 says, “Another one bites the dust”. Doug Martin has suffered the fate of the dreaded Curse of the Scubog Game Jersey and will now occupy a spot in the back of the closet with the likes of Revis, Barron, Williams, Galloway, Clayton and others who didn’t last long enough to make it to the old-school vintage section.

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    • Got the same problem scu, my last name is Martin, my whole family is planning a fire sale. I must have invested $500 in Keyshawn Johnson apparel and I won’t even talk about my Testeverde collection. It’s amazing when your life passes before you in the form of Buc’s Football jerseys.

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  21. I can’t say it was a mistake cutting Martin at his salary because he had the drug problem and he was injured often. He definately didn’t live up to 6.7 M per year. I would however hope the Bucs would try to resign him at a lower salary. He has ability and if they upgrade their o-line possibly giving him a hole to run through, then the injuries would lessen also, because he would be getting tackled by smaller people. Doug is a violent runner and at his size that can lead to injuries. Even if they resign Doug at a lower salary, they should draft another RB. Doug says he’s in the best shape of his life both mentally and physically. If he’s right, the Bucs are going to look like dupes again. If the Patriots come calling then we’ll know.

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