Doug Martin Contract: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Talks with Buccaneers

Scott PolacekFeatured Columnist

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) outruns the New Orleans Saints defense for a 14-yard touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Steve Nesius/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is set to become a free agent this offseason, but the team is hoping to avoid Martin even exploring the open market by agreeing to a new contract.

Continue for updates.

Martin Reportedly Likely on the Move

Thursday, Feb. 25

Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune cited a league source when reporting that Martin is "more likely to sign with a team other than [the Buccaneers]" once free agency hits.

Tampa Bay Reportedly Negotiating with Martin

Thursday, Jan. 28

Scott Reynolds of reported Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and Martin's agent, David Dunn, have had talks regarding a new deal for the running back:

The two were seen talking in the stands of Ladd-Peebles Stadium, and a source confirms that Martin was the topic of the discussion. The entire Bucs organization wants Martin, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, to be re-signed after rushing for 1,402 yards, which was the second-most in the league this year, and six touchdowns.

The reported talks are an extension of an effort that began before Tampa Bay's campaign was over, as Cummings reported Jan. 3 the team "decided not to wait until the end of the season to begin negotiations aimed at signing [the] two-time Pro Bowl [running back]."

Cummings noted that Licht said the negotiations already began and confirmed the team's desire to keep the former Boise State star: "We've already talked a little bit. We will definitely be talking (more). We'd love to have Doug back."

However, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times noted Licht stated the talks are "purely preliminary." Stroud also reported, "The Bucs are unlikely to place the franchise tag on Martin, which would cost them north of $11 million on a one-year deal."

Martin Comments on Negotiations

Sunday, Jan. 3

Martin also remarked on the situation, per Cummings: "I love it here, and I have a beautiful home here. I'd love to come back. But right now, I'm focused on our last game. I'm aware they're talking, but I'll let them handle that for now."

Martin Bounced Back in 2015 Ahead of Free Agency

He proved himself worthy of a new deal on the field this past season. He finished with 1,402 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground and 33 catches for 271 yards and another score. It was an impressive bounce-back after two injury-plagued campaigns since his breakout rookie performance (1,454 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns).

Martin also finished a mere 83 yards behind Adrian Peterson for the NFL rushing crown.

Perhaps most importantly, the running back proved he can stay healthy in 2015 and is only 26 years old. There are theoretically a handful of productive seasons remaining in his prime, and he doesn't look like someone about to suffer a loss of production in the immediate future.

What's more, Tampa Bay entrusted the offense to rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, and additional familiarity with the playmakers alongside him would likely help the former Heisman Trophy winner develop in the next couple of years.

A Martin-Winston combination would make the Buccaneers offense dangerous for the foreseeable future.