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 #Bucs have released RB Doug Martin
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) February 20, 2018
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.
— Doug Martin (@DougMartin22) February 20, 2018
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.