Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, was one of 12 first-rounders from that year to have his fifth-year option for 2016 turned down by his team earlier this year. Tampa Bay may regret that decision now, though it’s possible that, without that motivation, Martin wouldn’t be having the season he is. The fourth-year back is currently the NFL’s second-leading rusher, with his 941 yards placing him behind only Adrian Peterson.
As Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes, the Bucs will have a tough call to make this offseason on Martin, whom Lovie Smith calls a “priority.” Tampa Bay has the flexibility to bring back the 26-year-old, and his production certainly warrants a new deal, but the club may decide that investing heavily on a running back coming off a huge bounce-back year isn’t the best use of its cap room.
Here are a few more items from across the NFC:
- Having been cut by the Buccaneers a week ago, free agent safety D.J. Swearinger paid a visit to the Packers on Monday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Green Bay safety Micah Hyde left Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a hip issue, so the team may be considering veteran options in case Hyde has to miss time.
- With the Lions all but eliminated from the playoff hunt, the job security of head coach Jim Caldwell has become a popular topic of discussion and speculation in Detroit. However, Caldwell told reporters, including Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, not to “fixate” on it, adding that “I don’t think about it as much as you do.” Assuming the Lions bring in an outside candidate to fill the permanent general manager role, it seems likely Caldwell will eventually be replaced by that new GM.
- Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has yet to play a game during his second stint in New York, and his practice time has been limited so far, but head coach Tom Coughlin likes what he sees so far, per Fred Kerber of the New York Post. “He’s energetic, he looked good,” Coughlin said of Nicks. “Veteran experience, catcher, outstanding hands. He’ll work very hard. He’s excited about being here. He’s missed the opportunity to compete.”
- The Talk of Fame Network spoke to former Panthers GM Marty Hurney, who is responsible for drafting a number of key contributors on this year’s 10-0 squad.