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 NJ.com. 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 NJ.com 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 ESPN.com 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.