Is Doug Martin Worth the Franchise Tag?


Is Doug Martin worth the franchise tag, set by the NFL at $11.789 million?

Just over 24 hours from now, we will be at the deadline for assigning players the “Franchise Tag”. The next day represents the last chance for teams to single out one top player to protect from the free agent market. The Buccaneers are debating this decision as we speak, and the major topic of discussion is Doug Martin.

More from Bucs News

Just the other day, the NFL released the franchise tag figures for the new season, placing the figure at $11.789 million for running backs. Recent rumors have indicated that the Bucs are not likely to tag Martin, allowing him to hit the market if they don’t sign him to a long-term deal.

The question is whether or not this is the right move. We have seen the success of Martin in this system, and we know both sides want a reunion. The Bucs’ fan base loves this young man, and wants him back. If they don’t tag him, do the Bucs’ have it right?

Yes they do. Martin isn’t worth that kind of money, and there is life after Dougie. The Bucs’ can move on and be successful without him.

Martin is only 27 years old, just hitting the prime of his career. He also has two 1,400 yard rushing seasons under his belt, accomplishments that cannot be ignored. But, the fact that he posted two sub-par seasons cannot be ignored either. He some injury troubles, which makes every member of the Bucs’ brass question durability. There is no way they can’t. If they pay Martin a lot of money, do they get year one and four Martin, or year two and three Martin?

It’s part of the discussion, whether we want to admit it or not.

Remember as well, in today’s NFL, a bell-cow running back is not necessary. It’s a passing league. The league is driven by the passing game. The best teams in the league have a committee at the running back position. Even the Super Bowl champs had their most used running back carry the ball only 207 times. Jonathan Stewart only carried the ball 242 times for the Panthers.

Martin carried it 288 times. It’s like dessert, nice but not necessary. They could bring someone in to split carries with Charles Sims and be just fine.

And as far as replacements go, there are plenty. A little over a week ago, we discussed five solid choices, all of whom would come a lot cheaper than the top dollar Martin may be asking for.

Chris Ivory is a prime example. He is an angry runner, with extreme power and surprising speed. But, he has had some nagging injuries that have slowed him at times. He actually missed very little time while with the Jets, and after posting his first 1,000 yard season, would be a perfect choice to complement Sims.

Next: Bucs' Most Hated Man: Semifinals Game One

Think about Ronnie Hillman as well. He put up 863 yards last year, marking a career high. Hillman made $750,000 last year. There is no reason to believe the Bucs couldn’t expand the role of Charles Sims, and bring Hillman in here at $2-3 million per year, and have a very potent running attack.

The Bucs are right if they don’t offer Martin the franchise tag. He is good, but not $11 million for the year good.