Doug Martin figured to be one of the more sought-after running backs in free agency this offseason, as the two-time Pro Bowler currently sits second in the NFL with 1,354 rushing yards. However, the 26-year-old may not even reach free agency if the Buccaneers have their way.
Martin and general manager Jason Licht told Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune that the two sides have already started discussing a new contract for the running back.
“We’ve already talked a little bit,’’ Licht said. “We will definitely be talking (more). We’d love to have Doug back.’’
2015 has been a bounce back season for the former first rounder. The four-year veteran has rushed for 1,354 yards on 273 carries, and he’s found the end zone seven times (including one receiving touchdown). This followed 2013 and 2014 campaigns where Martin combined to run for 950 yards on 261 carries. As a result of the underwhelming production, the Buccaneers declined Martin’s $5.621MM 2016 option.
While Martin would presumably garner some attention in free agency (Cummings suggests a deal rivaling DeMarco Murray‘s five-year, $42MM deal with the Eagles), the running back is apparently content in Tampa Bay.
“I love it here and I have a beautiful home here,’’ Martin said. “I’d love to come back. But right now I’m focused on our last game. I’m aware they’re talking, but I’ll let them handle that for now.’’
The 31st-overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Boise State product originally signed a five-year, $6.79MM contract with the Buccaneers. As a rookie, Martin compiled 1,926 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns.