Doug Martin

Raiders Want To Keep Doug Martin

Doug Martin is slated to reach free agency in the spring, but Raiders head coach Jon Gruden would like to keep him from the open market. This week, Gruden indicated that he is hoping to keep the running back in 2019.

He’s a good back. I think I’ll say it again and again, he’s a very good player,” Gruden said (via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). “He’s been a great player in this league. He’s running it. He’s catching it. He picked up some blitz that were flushed. We did a lot of good things on the film that I look at. We’re proud of what we did against a very good defense. We thought Doug Martin played extremely well.”

Martin, an Oakland native, joined the Raiders on a one-year deal that can be worth up to $1.475MM. Despite his inconsistent past, he could be in line for a pay bump thanks to his recent play. Since taking over for the injured Marshawn Lynch, Martin has averaged 4.6 yards per tote. His latest quality performance came on Sunday as he rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown off of eleven carries.

Beast Mode is also ticketed for free agency but it’s not clear whether Gruden & Co. want him back. Meanwhile, backup Jalen Richard will be a restricted free agent.

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Raiders To Sign Doug Martin

The Raiders have agreed to terms with Doug Martin, Ian Rapoport of tweets, providing the veteran another opportunity after some down years.

This is a one-year deal for the seventh-year back, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Martin is entering what would be his age-29 season.

Connected to Martin last week when it was reported the team was high on the former Bucs back to lead to a Martin-Jon Gruden meeting, the Raiders will hope the formerly coveted free agent-turned-castoff can bounce back. Martin, though, struggled badly over the past two seasons since signing that a lucrative deal in 2016.

The two-time Pro Bowler has averaged 2.9 yards per carry in each of his past two seasons and has gained fewer than 200 receiving yards in each of those. Given that Marshawn Lynch is also not much of a pass-catching threat at this point, this would make for a somewhat curious fit.

Lynch remains on the Raiders’ roster and was due a $1MM roster bonus on Wednesday. The soon-to-be 32-year-old back is set to take up nearly $6MM of the Raiders’ cap, but the team can jettison Lynch mostly free of charge if it chooses.

It would seem Oakland’s roster is not big enough for all four of its current backs. Oakland also has elusive change-of-pace backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard in the fold. Neither were as productive last season as they were in 2016, however.

[RELATED: Raiders Depth Chart]

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Raiders High On RB Doug Martin

Raiders coach Jon Gruden met with former Bucs running back Doug Martin and came away impressed with him as a person, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Rapoport adds that the Raiders are expected to make a strong push for Martin in free agency. 

The Raiders’ interest in Martin is interesting in light of Marshawn Lynch‘s unclear status with the team. Lynch is slated to earn $4MM in 2018 with up to $4MM in bonuses and it’s possible that the Raiders will move on from him before free agency gets underway.

Martin profiles as more of a complementary ‘back than a primary one in the wake of a down season in Tampa Bay. The 29-year-old missed time due to a PED suspension last year and has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry over the last two campaigns. Gruden likely doesn’t see Martin as a one-for-one replacement for Lynch, but he could be part of a running back by committee approach, one that is less costly than having Lynch at the top of the depth chart. Alternatively, he may view Martin as a solid backup for Beast Mode.

Martin topped 1,400 yards as a rookie and did it again in 2015, but he has not cleared 500 yards in his other four NFL seasons.

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Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:


  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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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.

Buccaneers Activate RB Doug Martin

The Buccaneers have activated running back Doug Martin from suspension, the club announced today. In a related move, Tampa Bay waived tight end Alan Cross.Doug Martin (vertical)

Martin, 28, was handed a four-game PED suspension near the tail end of the 2016 season, so he was able to serve one game of that ban last year. Because the Buccaneers’ Week 1 game was postponed due to weather concerns, Martin is just now finishing up his stay on the suspended list. The ban voided the remaining guarantees on Martin’s contract, and Tampa Bay hasn’t promised that Martin will reclaim his starting job when he returns.

But the Buccaneers’ rushing offense has faltered enough through three games that it’s difficult to imagine Martin not taking the bulk of the carries immediately. Jacquizz Rodgers, Peyton Barber, and Charles Sims have handled the ball for Tampa Bay so far, but the club ranks just 22nd in rushing DVOA and is averaging only 3.8 yards per carry.

Through five NFL seasons, Martin has posted only two campaigns that can be considered successful — 2012 and 2015, when he topped 1,400 yards rushing and scored 17 combined touchdowns. The rest of his pro years have been lackluster, as Martin wasn’t able to top even 500 yards in either 2013, 2014, or 2016. He’s signed through 2020, but the Buccaneers can get out of Martin’s contract at any time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Trim Roster To 53

The Buccaneers have moved their roster to 53 players by making the following transactions:




Placed on IR:

Placed on Reserve/Suspended List:

NFC Notes: T. Johnson, Elliott, Martin

Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson is clearly disappointed that he did not receive a long-term deal and that he will be play out the season under his second consecutive franchise tag, as Alden Gonzalez of writes. Johnson said his focus is now on the field, but he added, “I wanted [a multi-year deal]; I wanted it big time. I believe the Rams are going in a different direction at the end of the season. It’s out of my control.” 

While it is impossible to say for certain whether the Rams will move on from Johnson at the end of the year, it does seem as if that will be the case. Indeed, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports tweets, Los Angeles put the tag on Johnson because it wanted to see what new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips could do with him. If Phillips had not joined the club, Johnson would already be elsewhere, per Robinson, and even with Phillips on the sidelines, it is difficult to see Johnson elevating his play enough to convince the Rams to give him elite CB money on a long-term basis.

Let’s take a look at a few more rumors from the NFC:

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said embattled running back Ezekiel Elliott met with NFL officials in New York last month to discuss the domestic violence allegations levied against him. While Jones does not have a timeframe for the league’s much-anticipated decision, he did say “everything is in place” for that decision, as Todd Archer of writes.
  • We heard earlier this month that the Buccaneers are well-stocked at running back even without Doug Martin, who will miss the first three games of the 2017 season due to suspension. And, as Dan Graziano of writes, GM Jason Licht is so pleased with his stable of RBs that he says Martin may not be the starter when he returns in Week 4. That may just be GM-speak to give Martin a little extra motivation, but it underscores how comfortable Tampa Bay is with its backs, who do offer a nice variety of skill-sets.
  • New Saints offensive lineman Orlando Franklin started all 16 games for the Chargers last year after an injury-plagued 2015, but he graded out as one of the seven worst qualified guards in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. However, Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate writes that Franklin had knee surgery in January, and Franklin says he was never fully healthy during his time in San Diego. This year, he expects to return to the form he displayed during his best seasons in Denver.
  • The Lions were the first team to reach out to LB Zach Orr when he announced his intention to come out of retirement, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press says Detroit is unlikely to sign Orr, which is consistent with a report we heard yesterday afternoon.
  • Eagles rookie CB Randall Goforth has suffered a season-ending ACL tear, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Goforth, a UDFA from UCLA, had a real chance for playing time given Philadelphia’s shaky cornerback situation.
  • Giants rookie safety Jadar Johnson, whom the team signed as a UDFA this year, has decided to retire from football, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets.
  • Redskins RB Keith Marshall tore his right patella tendon and will miss the 2017 season, per John Keim of Washington selected Marshall in the seventh round of the 2016 draft, but he missed the entire 2016 season with an elbow injury. He now will have to wait until 2018 to get his NFL career on track.

NFC Notes: Lions, Bucs, Falcons, 49ers

By the time Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s career ends, he could supplant Peyton Manning as the NFL’s all-time earnings king, observes Joel Corry of Manning made nearly $250MM during his career, and, as Corry writes, Stafford has a few factors on his side that might help him eventually surpass the former Colt and Bronco. Stafford entered the league at a young age (21), for one, and as the No. 1 pick two years before the league introduced the rookie wage scale. That enabled him to land a mammoth deal (six years, $72MM) prior to ever playing a professional down. Further, Stafford has already signed a lucrative extension, having inked a three-year, $53MM pact in 2013. By agreeing to that short-term deal, Stafford is now in position to cash in once again by 2018. To this point, the 29-year-old has made more money through the age of 28 ($110.5MM) than anyone else in league history, per Corry, who adds that Stafford will have a chance to go past $200MM by 2021 and might even hit $300MM before his playing days are over.

Now for the latest on a few NFC backfields:

  • Suspended running back Doug Martin doesn’t seem like a sure bet to play a down for the Buccaneers in 2017, as head coach Dirk Koetter told ESPN’s Wendi Nix on Thursday (via that it’s “yet to be determined” what will happen at the end of his three-game ban. That jibes with a February report from FanRag’s Roy Cummings, who relayed that the Bucs will “play the Martin situation out.” Tampa Bay can afford to take its time with Martin, whose $7MM salary for next season is no longer guaranteed on account of his suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. It could help his cause, though, that the Buccaneers didn’t use a high draft pick on a runner, waiting until the fifth round to grab Jeremy McNichols, and haven’t added any notable veterans to their backfield this offseason.
  • While Falcons running back Devonta Freeman won’t hold out in hopes of landing a new contract, he continues to seek top-tier money relative to his position. “I want to be elite paid. Whatever that is, that’s where I want to be — straight up,” Freeman told Josina Anderson of ESPN. Freeman is in lockstep with his agent, Kristin Campbell, who declared prior to Super Bowl LI that the 25-year-old should be in line for “elite” money. As of now, Freeman’s not on track to approach the NFL’s highest-paid backs in 2017, the final year of his contract, as he’s slated to make $1.8MM. There’s still plenty of time for an extension to come together, of course, and both Freeman and the Falcons have made it clear that they want to work something out.
  • Rookie fourth-rounder Joe Williams will have a legitimate shot to overtake Carlos Hyde as the 49ers’ No. 1 running back in 2017, opines Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. The John Lynch– and Kyle Shanahan-led Niners traded up in the draft for Williams and are quite bullish on the ex-Utah star, notes Maiocco, who also points out that Hyde is entering a contract year. San Francisco, then, isn’t tied to Hyde for the long haul, and its new regime has no built-in loyalty to the three-year veteran. It’s worth noting that Tony Pauline of reported last month that the 49ers’ bigwigs aren’t enamored of Hyde.

NFC Notes: D. Martin, Giants, Joeckel

We heard last month that the Buccaneers may retain RB Doug Martin, and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times explains why Martin remains relevant to the Bucs. For one, Tampa Bay did not select a running back in the draft that could make an instant impact, so Martin is still the most talented back on the roster. But the Bucs do have enough talent at the position to get away with a running back-by-committee until Martin returns from suspension in October, so they can afford to be patient. Plus, Martin has something to prove, and he has shown that, when motivated, he can be highly productive. The team has expressed a great deal of optimism about Martin’s prospects since the draft, so it is looking more likely than ever that he will play out the 2017 campaign with the Bucs.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • The Giants were one of the most logical suitors for free agent RB LeGarrette Blount, but the Patriots’ decision to use a May 9 tender on Blount probably takes New York out of the picture, according to James Kratch of Plus, Kratch believes the team’s reported interest in adding a veteran back was always a bit overblown, as the Giants have three young RBs that they want to give opportunities to, along with veteran Shane Vereen.
  • In the same piece, Kratch observes that Giants cornerstones Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Landon Collins, and Odell Beckham will all reach the end of their rookie contracts over the next two seasons. Kratch says it will be difficult for Big Blue to re-sign all four, but it’s not impossible, and he lays out how New York could go about it.
  • Former West Virginia center Tyler Orlosky is part of the Eagles‘ 2017 class of UDFAs, and as Eliot Shorr-Parks of writes, it was a bit surprising that Orlosky chose to sign with Philadelphia. After all, he garnered plenty of interest as a UDFA, and the Eagles have three centers on their roster that they are invested in to some degree. But Shorr-Parks suggests that Orlosky may know something we don’t, and if Orlosky performs well in camp, Shorr-Parks says Philadelphia could ship veteran Jason Kelce, whom the club has been trying to trade anyway, off to the highest bidder.
  • Luke Joeckel represents the biggest investment the Seahawks made in free agency this offseason, but given his disappointing tenure as a left tackle for the Jaguars — which ultimately forced him to move to guard — and his season-ending knee injury in 2016, there is plenty of skepticism about his ability to bolster Seattle’s underwhelming O-line. But Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable is bullish on Joeckel’s outlook. As Sheil Kapadia of writes, Cable said during a recent radio interview that Joeckel played as well as any guard in the league before his injury last season, and he believes his coaching will only make Joeckel better. Of course, Joeckel only signed a one-year pact, so if he does play well and stay healthy, the Seahawks will likely have to pay a premium to keep him.
  • The Rams‘ center position is hardly settled, as injury-prone John Sullivan sits atop the depth chart with only Demetrius Rhaney, a special-teams contributor and a natural guard, behind him. As such, Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that UDFA Jake Eldrenkamp, who did not play center at all in college but whose body and skill-set are best-suited to center at the professional level, has a real chance of winning the starting job this summer. At the very least, he could make the team as Sullivan’s backup.