The Tampa Bay Buccaneers inquired about Dallas free agent running back DeMarco Murray, but are not heavily interested in signing the NFL’s leading rusher from a year ago. Murray will likely wind up making nearly $8 million per season, and is being pursued by Dallas, Jacksonville and Oakland the most in free agency. After being burned by overpaying for mediocre talent in free agency last year, Tampa Bay is taking a more cautious and frugal approach this year, and Murray’s price tag is simply too high.
The Bucs are looking to improve their 29th-ranked rushing attack from a year ago by bolstering the team’s offensive line through free agency and the 2015 NFL Draft, but also by upgrading the talent at the running back position. Tampa Bay is not sold on the notion of oft-injured starter Doug Martin returning to his rookie form and will be looking to find another running back capable of creating more big runs on his own by breaking tackles and eluding defenders with more speed and quickness than Martin possesses.
It took Martin until the last game of 2014 for him to become the Bucs’ leading rusher, and he finished the season with 494 yards and two touchdowns on 134 carries (3.6 avg.). If Tampa Bay does not add another running back in free agency, it could turn to the draft, which is stocked with running back talent through the third day.
Charles Sims, last year’s third-round pick, is expected to take on a larger role on offense, and the Bucs re-signed restricted free agent Bobby Rainey to a one-year deal. Seldom used Mike James is still on the roster, but Tampa Bay wants to add more speed and playmaking ability to its running game, and James and Martin are believed to be the two slowest backs on the team.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR’s Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons’ Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
I have always had a problem with Martins speed. IMO, Martin was never a first round talent. No need to overpay for any RB until we get the O-Line fixed.
I agree about speed and him being a 1st round talent, but I think he was/is a 2nd round talent and worth giving one more year to prove he can stay healthy and run well behind a better O-line. I think when healthy his power overshadows his lack of speed. The guy can break tackles and make people miss once he gets 5 yards or so past the line of scrimmage.
But Peterson would be a home run. GO BUCS
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