10:21pm: The two sides have “a ways to go” when it comes to reaching a deal, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, who adds that there is definitely a “gap to bridge.”
9:27pm: The Buccaneers are set to re-sign one of their own, as they’re reportedly nearing a deal with running back Doug Martin, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Per Stroud, the new contract would pay Martin $6.85MM per season.
As many as six clubs were thought to have interest in Martin, with the Raiders, Texans, and 49ers (per Stroud on Twitter) among them. Instead, it looks like Martin will return to Tampa Bay, where he enjoyed his best season since his rookie year. Martin rushed for more than 1,400 yards, scoring six times, and added 33 reception and another touchdown for good measure.
If Martin’s new deal does come in around $6.85MM, he’ll be among the second-tier of running back contracts, as Jamaal Charles ($6.9MM) and Jonathan Stewart ($7.3MM) earn comparable annual salaries. The fact that Tampa Bay and Martin’s representatives were able to agree to a deal so quickly is a little surprising, as just days ago a report indicated between the two sides had broken down. However, it appears as though any gap in talks was able to be bridged.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.