The mutual interest between the Buccaneers and Doug Martin to get a deal done this offseason has been well documented, but it doesn’t hurt to get another opinion on the matter, especially if it comes from a noted league insider.
During media availability at the Combine on Thursday, PewterReport.com caught up with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport to discuss the possibilities involving Martin, from when he could resign to who could snatch him from Tampa Bay.
While Rapoport listed the Raiders, Jaguars and Seahawks as possible suitors, he still believes that the Bucs are the strong favorite to land the 27-year old running back. Tampa Bay has the cap space, and would ideally like to keep their core group of players intact.
“In these situations – when he wants to be there and the team wants him – usually those kinds of deals get done,” Rapoport said. “It just makes so much sense. You just don’t want to be in the business of developing guys and then giving them to someone else to succeed. To me, the Bucs look like they’re getting ready to win, so you’d like to keep it together. He’s part of their core, he’s a good guy and players like him.”
That said, Rapoport doesn’t believe the Bucs will rush to reach an agreement before March 7 (when teams are permitted to talk to unrestricted free agents) and that Martin will indeed test the waters.
“My thought is, if the Bucs are going to keep him, which I think is really possible, it’s not going to happen until March 8, which is fine,” Rapoport said. “Let him look around, see what his market is, see if he wants to stay where he’s been successful. If he can go out and get a lot more money, than he probably should.”
And bad news for the Bucs, Martin could end up getting a lot more money elsewhere.
The league announced a salary cap increase of $10 million on Thursday, leaving each team with approximately $155 of space, per an NFL agent who attended the meeting. And of that $155, it’s required by the collective bargaining agreement that teams spend 89 percent of their cap to avoid punishment.
Two teams – the Raiders and Jaguars – were below the 89 percent requirement at the start of the offseason, while the Patriots, Panthers and Jets are now below after the recent rule change. This almost forces teams to spend money, giving Bucs fans more reason to fear that Doug Martin could be playing in Oakland or Jacksonville in 2016.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: email@example.com