Doug Martin appeared headed for the free agent market as potentially the No. 1 running back available, but the Buccaneers engaged in discussions to retain the fifth-year running back.
Those talks did not materialize into common ground, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, who reports Martin will be expected to discuss his worth with other teams once the legal tampering period opens Monday.
Discussions between and Martin’s agent, Brian Murphy, ventured into Saturday afternoon without a solution that will keep the NFL’s second-leading rusher last season away from free agency.
We heard last week Martin was hoping to “hit the jackpot” in free agency after producing the second 1,400-yard rushing season of his career. Martin’s 1,402 ground yards last season also came on a career-best 4.9-yards-per-carry average. Martin, however, sputtered in his second and third seasons, combining to gain fewer than 1,000 yards and saw his per-carry average slink below 4.0.
Charles Sims matched Martin’s per-tote average, albeit on 181 fewer carries, but served as a superior passing-game option in gaining 561 yards compared to Martin’s 271.
Lamar Miller, Matt Forte, Chris Ivory and now Arian Foster would join Martin, who turned 27 in January, as the top proven ball-carriers on the market if the Bucs 2012 first-round pick becomes available for discussions with other teams.
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