Buccaneers Release RB Doug Martin

The Buccaneers have released running back Doug Martin, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Tampa Bay has since confirmed the move.Doug Martin (vertical)

As PFR noted in assessing the offseason outlook for Tampa Bay, Martin was one of the NFL’s least productive running backs in 2017. Among the 36 running backs who handled at least 125 carries last season, Martin finished dead last with a paltry 2.94 yards per rush. Pro Football Focus ranked Martin as the No. 53 RB among 58 qualifiers, while the 29-year-old placed last among backs in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA metric, which measures value on a per-play basis.

Martin, 29, has failed to top 450 rushing yards in either of the past two seasons as injuries and a four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension limited his time on the field. That PED ban voided the rest of the guarantees in Martin’s deal, and the Buccaneers’ favored contract structure — which involves no signing bonuses — means the club won’t incur any dead money by cutting Martin. Instead, Tampa Bay will pick up $6.75MM in salary cap space.

With Martin off the roster, the Buccaneers will almost surely search for a new running back in free agency or through the draft. Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber are still under contract, but neither is likely capable of being a top-tier back, while fellow runner Charles Sims is scheduled to hit free agency in March. Tampa Bay could consider free agents such as Carlos Hyde, Le’Veon Bell, Dion Lewis, or Isaiah Crowell, or select a back such as Ronald Jones (USC), Derrius Guice (LSU), or Sony Michel (Georgia) on Day 1 or 2 of the draft.

Because he’s a vested veteran, Martin will now hit the free agent market immediately. While his recent track record is uninspiring, Martin will get the jump on the rest of the 2018 free agent running back class, perhaps giving him an opportunity to land a deal before free agency officially opens next month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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13 comments on “Buccaneers Release RB Doug Martin

  1. Alex Graboyes

    Um ok. Wtf. I am confused. He wasn’t horrible last season. Guess for cap reasons for signing him to THAT HORRIBLE DEal.

    • I give no fox

      “Pro Football Focus ranked Martin as the No. 53 RB among 58 qualifiers, while the 29-year-old placed last among backs in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA metric, which measures value on a per-play basis.”

      That sounds pretty horrible to me. Add to that an almost $7 million cap hit (with $0 dead money) makes this a no-brainer decision.

    • JT19

      Under 3 yards per carry is pretty bad no matter what. If he was a lesser name, he probably would’ve been gone already.

    • jwalt2975

      Can you even read? There were only FIVE running backs worse than him last year. He averaged under three yards a carry. His guaranteed money was voided because of the drugs.

    • ruckus727

      Doug is terrible. And a huge risk off the field too. If the league knew half of the stuff he’s done in the last few years…

  2. balloonknots

    Martin when in shape and head in the game is a solid rb. I can see a team signing him to a prove it deal … I would not even be surprised if that team was the Bucs again!

    • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

      No, I think it’s over this time
      A change of scenery is in order.

    • blakeh11

      Tampa is my favorite team but if they sign him back I will stop watching them. He had 2 good years out of all the years he’s been in the league. Last year was his prove it year and he didn’t do jack. They need an explosive running back to help the passing game. Wish they could get Barkley but there are other good backs in the draft. Don’t waste money in free agency unless you get a cheap contract because the shelf life of running backs is short.

  3. Brad

    Niners or Browns. Cards dark horse if it’s a one year show me deal. Could be a solid spell back to get his feet going again. Could be a Gruden guy.

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