Running back Doug Martin is more likely to sign with a team other than the Buccaneers on the first day of free agency, a league source tells Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune (on Twitter). Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said on Wednesday that he was optimistic about a deal getting done, but that might not come to fruition.
The running back is reportedly “hoping to hit the jackpot” after a 1,400-yard season. If the Bucs don’t meet Martin’s asking price, the only way to keep him off the open market would be to franchise him, and that would be a pricey solution — the franchise tag for RBs is expected to exceed $11MM. Even though things aren’t looking good in talks right now, the two sides still have until March 9th to reach a deal before the running back can hit the open market.
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. His production tailed off after that, but he rebounded in a big way in 2015 and re-established his value at the best possible time. The Bucs consider him to be a high-priority free agent, but they might choose to let him walk if the asking price gets out of hand.
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