After running back Doug Martin was suspended four games for PED usage at the tail end of last season, the general thought was that Martin wasn’t long for the Buccaneers roster. However, Tampa Bay intends to “play the Martin situation out” and see where things stand in a few months, according to Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports.
Part of the reason for the Buccaneers’ stance on Martin is contractual — because Martin was suspended, his previously guaranteed $7MM base salary for the 2017 campaign is no longer guaranteed. Additionally, Martin is banned until Week 3 of next season, so Tampa doesn’t have to make a call on Martin until nearly a month into the season.
At that point, the Bucs will be able to more fully assess their needs and options at the running back position, and decide if retaining Martin is worth the risk. One player who could fill the void in Tampa Bay’s backfield is Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed for 560 yards in his first season with the Buccaneers. Rodgers is a pending free agent, however, and though he appears to be a priority for Tampa, the club has not started a dialogue regarding a new deal, per Cummings.
Because the Buccaneers rarely use large prorated signing bonuses, they can release Martin without any dead money accruing on their salary cap. If he is cut, the 28-year-old Martin — who averaged only 2.9 yards per carry last season — would join a free agent running back class that includes Le’Veon Bell, Latavius Murray, LeGarrette Blount, and Eddie Lacy
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