The Buccaneers got Doug Martin healthy in 2o15, and therefore, back in top form. He will be looking for a big contract, should it come in Tampa Bay?
Doug Martin had a huge year for the Buccaneers in 2015. He rushed for 1,402 yards, averaged an impressive 4.9 yards per carry, and scored six touchdowns. This was his second highest number of rushing yards since breaking into the league in 2012. He made a modest $6.788 million over his four-year career according to ESPN. Unquestionably, Martin had a strong year while playing for a new contract.
But should the Buccaneers bring Martin back? Not necessarily.
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Reasons to bring back Martin are seemingly obvious. You don’t just find players who can achieve 1400 yards per season in the NFL Draft nor in Free Agency. It would be his 2nd year lining up behind Jameis Winston, and he already has some familiarity with the offense and the team as a whole. It certainly may sound like an easy decision.
So why shouldn’t they sign him to a deal right this second? Well, there are a few other factors to consider.
His numbers were indeed solid, but they didn’t end up leading to many wins in 2015, with only six for the entire season in 2015. Now, of course Doug Martin alone can’t be blamed for this, but facts are still facts. This team has numerous weaknesses with both offense and defense that need to be addressed. Doug Martin will likely be seeking anywhere from five to six years at about $12 million per season.
Is it wise to put that kind of money into a player from a team that wasn’t able to even come close to making a playoff appearance?
In addition, his career has been riddled with injuries. As good as Martin is as a runner, his abilities as a receiver are somewhat underwhelming. Since his rookie season, he hasn’t posted more than 33 receptions in a season. His pass protection for the quarterback has improved over his four-year career, but is still far too inconsistent.
The truth is, there are several good running backs in rounds three through seven of the draft (as well as various free agents, such as Chris Ivory from the New York Jets) that are better options financially. Has the signing of a high ticket, free agent running back to a major contract ever led to a Super Bowl title? Running backs have their importance but simply don’t last too long in the NFL. They take a beating like no other on the gridiron, and as a result their careers are markedly shorter than some of the other positions. A team is lucky to get four or five good years out of a running back.
The Buccaneers just announced that they were going to be raising ticket prices for season ticket holders by an average of 24%. With this being the case the Bucs needs to make an effort to generate legitimate interest in their franchise coming off of two dreadful seasons. Resigning Doug Martin would be nice, and nobody can really argue it coming off the great year that he did have, but would that excite their fan base enough? Could that money be put to better use with somebody else? Make your own judgment, but I say the team would be smarter for using that money with a different player.
Stats from ESPN.com