Bucs fans can exhale.
Doug Martin has agreed to a five-year, $35.75 million deal that keeps him in Tampa Bay according to reports.
After the Bucs elected not to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last offseason, the 27-year old back responded with 1,673 yards from scrimmage (1,402 rushing) while finishing as the NFL’s second-leading rusher and a Pro Bowl nod in 2015. Tampa Bay wanted Martin to prove his value as a true No. 1 back, and he did just that.
While it took long negotiations to finally reach an agreement, it was clear the two sides ultimately wanted an extension. Martin has played four seasons in Tampa, has built a home here and likely preferred to remain a part of Dirk Koetter and Jameis Winston’s new offensive direction. Not to mention the front office and coaching staff desired continuity. It was just a matter of finding common ground, with a contract that benefited both sides.
This news, coming in the wake of Logan Mankins’ decision to retire, is especially relieving for fans who didn’t want to see Tampa Bay lose multiple starters on last year’s fifth ranked offense. Martin will presumably return to his role as the premier running back, with Charles Sims sharing carries and receptions.
The former Boise State standout rushed for 1,402 yards in a Pro Bowl season in 2015, leading the NFL in runs over 20 yards (14), and helped propel the Bucs offense to a franchise record for offensive production last season, doing so with a rookie quarterback at the helm.
The combination of Martin and Charles Sims produced one of the league’s best one-two punch at running back, and according to ProFootballFocus.com, Martin graded out at as the NFL’s top running back for elusiveness, forcing 67 missed tackles last season.