“Somewhat Unreliable”

February 22nd, 2016
Not all NFL analysts are bullish on Doug Martin.

Not all NFL analysts are bullish on Doug Martin.

Joe has long maintained if the Bucs really want Doug Martin, the franchise tag is an option.

Remember: tagging a player also means you control the contract negotiations. A franchise tag does not close the door on a contract.

The reason this is a viable option for the Bucs? First, the team has loads of cap space. Second, a franchise tag is another prove-it contract for Martin. If, after the 2016 season, Martin underperforms, then you wash your hands and walk away.

(Interestingly, Joe was reading an online chat from baseball writer Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week noting how baseball teams increasingly are signing players to large, perhaps above-the-market, one-year contracts. Why? Because baseball officials, Goold notes, believe pricey one-year contracts are “benign.” If the contract turns out to be a bad deal, it’s over after one season — see above for Joe’s prove-it contract reference.)

One guy who would absolutely not use the franchise tag on Martin is NFL Network analyst Elliot Harrison. It seems, from Harrison’s words this morning on NFL HQ, he would give pause to bringing Martin back at all.

“I would say, no, you don’t franchise a running back, espeically someone who has been somewhat unreliable,” Harrison said. “He missed 15 starts combine over 2013 and 2014. No one expected him to have a big year this season. Did he have a big year because people were worried about the passing game? He could of.”

Now this is a bit interesting. Was Martin a product of greatly improved line play in front of him? Joe is hesitant to give that much credit to America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, at least early in the season. What teams are actually afraid of a quarterback early in his rookie year?

Joe isn’t so sure teams were frightened of Jameis for the first month of the season and defenses were not focused on Martin.

50 Responses to ““Somewhat Unreliable””

  1. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Doug had a good year because he was healthy and we had someone under center who was actually capable of throwing the ball to the correct team. No running back is going to be successful behind a terrible OL and QB. Let’s also not forget who was our play caller on offense in 2014. Everything works together – a QB is going to be successful with a good running game, but at the same time a RB is going to be successful when the offense has the threat of being able to throw the ball. All year last year he broke tackles and made huge runs. He almost always falls forward after contact.

    What did we hear all year from the organization? Doug practices harder than anyone else. He practices hard, had amazing results, and is never in trouble. Explain to me why it makes any sense to get rid of him. I don’t care how much money it takes, bring him back. Would you rather have him or another Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins?

  2. mdknob Says:

    Doug Martin had a good year because I kicked him off my FF team.

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Hawaiian Buc Says
    “Doug had a good year because he was healthy and we had someone under center…”

    It didn’t hurt that the actual Center position played well all year either. If you ask me, that is the hardest spot to fill with a good player. Tampa has gone through a continuous flow of centers for decades.

    Joe Hawley did a great job. Fans saying to cut him are insane.

  4. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Franchise him and then if he comes to camp slim and trim and plays well through the first 4 games…then work out a contract with him.

  5. GhostofSchiano Says:

    I agree with Hawaiian Buc.

    Doug Martin was not only healthy but benefitted from an upgraded O-line and upgraded Quarterback. The 2013 / 2014 bucs could of had Adrian Peterson and still ranked last in Rushing offense. Please pay the man Licht, but save some for a pair of DE’s….please.

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    i am on the fence with martin, love him but the brutal reality is he’s a 50/50 back no matter how you look it or the excuses people make for him. It’s a bottom line results business and the bottom line is martin has produced 2 years and failed 2 years regardless of excuses or reasons. Given his injury history and age 27, I think anything more than a 3 year front loaded deal is a huge risk. I am a fan of martin’s and hope he retires a buc that being said I care much more about the team long term than I do any player on the roster.

  7. Tiny Tim Says:

    Its not an excuse to say Martin was injured for two years. It is called reality. Reality is also when he has been healthy, he has been a pro bowler. Another reality is any player can get injured at any time regardless the position or production level. With that being said, it is a no brainer to bring back Martin. I would rather have a player who has shown to be a pro bowler when healthy then bring in someone we hope can be effective as Martin’s replacement. Either player could get injured in 2016. I am taking my chances with Martin.

  8. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    GhostofSchiano Says
    “Doug Martin was not only healthy but benefitted from an upgraded O-line and upgraded Quarterback. The 2013 / 2014 bucs could of had Adrian Peterson and still ranked last in Rushing offense.”

    To me, this is a reason to give him a contract. IF it was the QB and OL that caused his good season, then it wasn’t as much on him. In that case, he doesn’t deserve the contract.

  9. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    “To me, this is a reason not to give him a contract.” <– I meant.

  10. Supersam Says:

    Man Licht screwed up big not picking up his 5 yr option, that is going to come back and haunt us.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Doug Martin is a ‘known quantity’ … Bucs drafted him, Bucs raised him, and if the Bucs don’t know by now what he’s capable of then shame on them. Doug had a great 2012 and a great 2015, with 2 years of injuries and extremely bad OLines in-between. When not injured … and with reasonable blocking in front of him … he’s performed as well as any RB in the league not named Peterson. No need to ‘break the bank’ to keep him, but Bucs do need to re-sign him to a respectable contract.

  12. Lord Says:

    Eye test shows a back who got the most out of every play last year imo. Dude got 3-4 yards in a lot of situations where it could have been a loss. Most his big runs were due to patient vision and making at least one guy miss or breaking at least one tackle

    Re sign him and hope last year was him figuring out ideal shape to be in to stay healthy

  13. rhenry Says:

    I wish I could wash my hands with 10 million and walk away.

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    “Doug Martin is a ‘known quantity’” Exactly! Injuries can happen to ANY player as Tiny Tim remarked. When healthy he’s a pro-bowler. Little risk,
    BIG reward.

  15. DB55 Says:

    Just to add some perspective Martin missed 15 games in the last 5 seasons and McCoy missed 14 games in the same time span. Martin has also rushed for 1400 yards in both of his complete seasons. Not to mention an avg of 400 yards receiving.

    What really surprised me is that he only rushed for 100 yards in 4 games this season. In Philly he ran for 235 yards and Jaboo threw for 245 and 5 TDs.

  16. mike Says:

    It seemed to me that Doug had a great season because he looked to be in the best shape of his life. He had an explosiveness i noticed the 1st preaseason game and he was a different back. Was it because of finally being injury free or did he lack motivation?

  17. Waterboy Says:

    Agree with Hawaiian Buc and I’ll also add that he had a competent OC this season unlike last year.

  18. DB55 Says:

    Btw Adrian Peterson missed 21 games in the same time span. #perspective

  19. The Buc Realist Says:

    We also need to think what Koetter wants this offense to look like in a year or two!!! Will running the ball be less emphasized? Will the RB need to be a better at pass blocking??? (not DM22 strength) More pass routes as this offense evolves to the 4 vert offense??? These questions need to be in GM Licht’s mind when negotiations as well!!!

  20. James Walker Says:

    Doug need to put two good seasons back to back before we throw a big 3 year deal at him.

  21. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Fun fact:

    Whenever our QB has thrown for 4,000 yards Doug has had a great year.

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    Supersam Says:
    February 22nd, 2016 at 2:39 pm
    Man Licht screwed up big not picking up his 5 yr option, that is going to come back and haunt us.

    Sam proving once again that he has no clue. But then we already knew that based on all of Sam’s ridiculous and negative opinions about Jameis Winston…

    FYI dude- Martin will get paid just slightly more this year than he would have if the 5th year option was utilized (discounting the signing bonus on a 3-4 year deal). And at least we have a more accurate baseline of Doug’s worth now that he has produced well when healthy – which was 2 out of 4 years.

    If Licht had committed to Martin’s 5th year option prior to last year – and then Martin had ANOTHER sub-500 yard season (3rd in a row) – then Licht would have looked like a bumbling idiot – just like Sam does with stupid comments like that…

  23. Joe Says:

    Man Licht screwed up big not picking up his 5 yr option, that is going to come back and haunt us.

    Totally disagree. Given Martin’s ssecond and third seasons, Licht would have been crazy to extend him. Licht wanted a prove-it contract.

    There is a reason the Bucs drafted a running back in the third round in 2014.

    Remember the words of Bill Polian: GMs don’t mind paying for production. Paying players for non-production is what gets them fired.

  24. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I think that Doug martin has a lot of pride. When then bucs didn’t pick up his option and gave him a cut in pay. He was a professional,he didn’t complain,
    he went out and got in a special conditioning program.Nobody can say he gives less than 100%.Koetter sees his potential.Big plays from both RB’s
    got us well past field goal range opening up things for Jameis.Dont fix what aint broke and Martin,Sims,Jackson, Jameis and evans are the glue to make this offense Humm and koetter knows how to use them.

  25. Joe Says:

    I think that Doug martin has a lot of pride. When then bucs didn’t pick up his option and gave him a cut in pay.

    Martin did not get a cut in pay. He was already under contract. Only way Bucs could have cut his pay was cutting him and re-signing him, or renegotiating his contract, neither of which happened. With all rookie contracts, the team has a fifth-year option which the Bucs chose not to exercise.

  26. Bob in Valrico Says:

    pound for pound doug martin is one the best backs to run between the tackles
    Having a coordinator like Koetter and a complement like Sims him should extend his career.Dont Worry be happy if we bring back for 4 years.

  27. Pickgrin Says:

    Joe Says:
    February 22nd, 2016 at 5:14 pm
    “With all rookie contracts, the team has a fifth-year option which the Bucs chose not to exercise.”

    5th year options only apply to 1st round picks Joe. Not “all rookie contracts”.

  28. Joe Says:

    5th year options only apply to 1st round picks Joe. Not “all rookie contracts”.

    Yup. Good catch

  29. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Martin did not get 5.5 mil that fifth year option would have paid and he received
    2.2 million that year.Now I fully understand the bucs skepticism in light of previous two years.Now even with his bad years he has produced well over 900 yards a season and had two stellar seasons. That we Know and bringing
    in a another back doesn’t mean they wont get injured.Look how long
    marshon Lynch’s ereplacement lasted.

  30. Kevin Schmidt Says:

    Listen I will say it over and over again….Martin had a PHENOMENAL year. It wasn’t from teams fearing the pass….it was the fact he came to camp in the best shape of his four year career and he knew what time it was. It was time to earn his paycheck and he did just that. He ran his ARSE off, broke tackles and looked like the running back =ANY team would love to have. Problem is that was the only year he looked that dominant. Yes he has a good rookie year but not like last season. Not even close to as impressive as last season. So while I disagree with this guy, I would like to see Martin come back, I don’t want to over pay him based on one monster season. Tag him and bag him!!!!!!! If he does it again give him a nice long term deal to be part of something special moving forward. But one year is not enough to say OK this guy is going to do this every year so lets make him rich!!!

  31. Kevin Schmidt Says:

    Thats the big question….had the bucs used they’re 5th year option on him would he have still showed up as jacked as he did?????? The world will never know.

    TAG HIM!!!!!

  32. LargoBuc Says:

    Guys its no coincidence Martin had his two best seasons whhen we had a 4000 yard qb. If Jameis has a sophmore slump (he wont) dont expect Martin to help.
    Good qb’s make everyone around them better, oline, rb, wr.

  33. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It would seem to me that you could structure a three year contract with the first two guaranteed for about the same amount the first two years as the franchise amount. (not sure of the numbers)

    The third year could be incentive laden with non guaranteed $$.

    The franchise price for Martin is fairly high….and what if he performs….you are right back to square one next year.

  34. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Why are people questioning martins work ethic? he has pure running ability. He can be an elite running back. Sure it takes hard work and dedication to get ther but most player don’t get there no mayter how hard they work. The fact Martin has that great talent is reason to sign him.

    I’ll also buy in that jameis will energize all of the players on the team to give it their all. So if martin does slow down and not give it his all, i expect Jameis to be there to kick him in the butt.

  35. Buc1987 Says:


    Martin’s coming back. Same shyte, different day.

    Why worry?

  36. Bob in Valrico Says:

    also with big chunk yardage from both backs Jameis had to get a charge now and then.
    Hope licht is smart enough not to guarantee him for only one when two years can be had for not much more. We will see.No reason to overpay start around 24 or 25 mil.If he does good you got a bargain ,if he doesn’t you cut him before 3 rd year and you have only spent a little more than the one year rental.

  37. Joe Says:

    The third year could be incentive laden with non guaranteed $$.

    Joe will write again, no matter what happens with the current contract negotiations, Joe will be surprised if Martin is on the Bucs roster in 2018.

  38. Bob in valrico Says:

    he would have to show both durability and no loss of speed. will it happen?who knows,but that where questions would arise.and
    it’s gives us at least two years to start filling all the other holes,
    it’s a good thing.y KC

  39. Bucs SB with Jameis Says:

    You guys are cool and funny to watch. Props to DB as usual.

  40. Bob in valrico Says:

    y KC
    fat fingers strike again

  41. Bucs SB with Jameis Says:

    DM was better because of the Combination of QB, and OL, and OC play. Stop being so myopic guys. It is actually alright to look at ALL the upgrades on one side of the ball that work together. Why fix something that isn’t broke??? Isn’t that the recipe for disaster? Let the man test FA. Then decide if you want to match. If it isn’t over 5.5 a year properly done then Sign Him.#keepthecore

  42. Tackleblockwin Says:

    IMO we gotta keep Doug. Our oline from last year is going to be the same for the most part and he will be a threat that opposing OCs gotta prep for. Doug is a huge part of Jameis’s development and is going to continue to open up the passing game for the O with play action. In addition I feel the Bucs need to grab at least one good WR in FA and simply draft best available on draft day. I won’t get into FA for the D because this article is about the O and the importance of Doug.

  43. Bob in valrico Says:

    And the same could be said for Jameis,Ol,both backs and Oc made him better. you have to move ball past field goal range to keep Lovie from trying a
    Field goal.we will probably get a better deal if he doesn’t test free agency.I’m good with 5.5mil but that would be a coup if Licht can pull
    that off.

  44. DB55 Says:

    Bucs SB with Jameis Says:
    February 22nd, 2016 at 9:10 pm
    You guys are cool and funny to watch. Props to DB as usual.

    You my friend are a gentleman and a scholar. Not too many of us left. 🤓

  45. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Why does joe think Martin only has 2 yr of football left in him?

    Because on average RBs wear down by age 30? All of the RBs worth a damn in the NFL have gone past 30. An average rb, sure they got tossed out like garbage. But good RBs stick around. The miles are low on Martin and he has had no major leg injuries. How long did Warrick Dunn play for? DeAngelo Williams is 32 and just had a terrific season. This 30 yr old barrier was before they could replace your knee in the off season, and be ready to go for TC.

    If Doug signs a 3 year deal I expect him to be here for all 3 years. I think he will have earned it to.

  46. Bucs SB with Jameis Says:

    Yes sir DB. Glad to re-acquaint. I have come to fully believe what you and 87 have been preaching. Though it has only been One season this Gator is on board for what Jameis brings to this team. It is not Jameis alone but the ‘Belief’ that I see taking place that is most important. Along with that comes support not just from teammates but from the highest levels of office that allows Koetter and Jameis to get whoever they want. Koetter and Winston have So much power as far as the offensive development of this team. Wait………I can hardly believe I just said ‘offensive development’ as a Positive to ‘this team’
    It is Usually a negative.
    Anyhoo I am sure that one thing we as Fans won’t have to worry about for a While is Offensive Stagnancy. I just hope we get the Defensive Intensity we used to have.

  47. unbelievable Says:

    Elliot Harrison is just like every other numb nut national reporter who hasn’t watched 1 second of a Bucs game and just writes out complete bullsh$T based on stats and nothing else.

  48. Bob in Valrico Says:

    expect the offensive peredictability to change.There will finally be an aggressive, less predictable gameplan on offense.Expect the same on defense,
    No more bend and break defense Hell Yeah!

  49. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    If Martin remains at the top of his game, and does stay in Tampa, then I disagree with Joe that he won’t be here in 2018.

    It will depend on his production and the cap situation.

  50. dreambig Says:

    All this second guessing and spectulation is crazy. How many times in Buccaneer history have the Bucs had the 1st or 2nd best running back in the league? I am not going to go research it but I am guessing not very often. Probably in our 30 year history, we have had that luxury less than 5 times. When you have a guy who has done it twice, and is arguably one of the best running backs we have had, why wouldn’t you just resign him? If Doug Martin was on another team, everyone on here would be drooling over the possiblity of signing him via free agency. The grass is always greener.