Can The Bucs Count On Martin?

March 30th, 2017


As Joe told Pat Donovan and Aaron Jacobson in-studio on WDAE-AM 620 yesterday, the Bucs are in a pickle when it comes to Doug Martin.

Technically, Martin is coming off yet another horrid season and is (in theory) the No. 1 running back. But he hasn’t finished his four-game suspension for being popped last year violating the NFL’s banned substance policy. He’ll miss the first three games of the season.

Of course, a cynic looking at Martin’s paltry 2.9 yards per carry last season — worst of his wildly inconsistent career — could quickly ascertain that Martin (allegedly) picked the wrong PED.

So how do the Bucs prepare for this season? How many spring and summer reps can they Bucs give Martin, assuming he does return healthy?

The Bucs could easily be painting themselves in a corner here.

Reports claim Martin has gone through a dependence program, and yesterday winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter told Joe and other reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix that Martin appeared healthy when he visited One Buc Palace earlier this year.

But if the Bucs give too many reps to Martin in underwear football and training camp, are they setting themselves up? If, say, Jacquizz Rodgers doesn’t get enough carries, would he be rusty?

Joe asks this because the Bucs, if they choose the wrong formula, could be staring at an 0-3 start. If that happens, the Bucs are all but certain to begin planning for 2018 before October arrives. That’s lazy Lovie Smith-bad.

Fans, and Joe suggests also Team Glazer, would be in an uproar.

Perhaps the smart move is to treat Martin like a reserve? And if that is the case, then how can one justify paying a reserve some $7 million?

Add to that a good point made by veteran sports columnist Gary Shelton of Martin does not play special teams. Rarely does an NFL team hold a roster spot for a reserve player who cannot play special teams, outside of quarterbacks.

Unless the Bucs go head-first into the season expecting Martin as the bellcow back, it’s hard to see how Martin sticks with the team short of a reworked contract.

It’s almost as if the Bucs are damned if they do, damned if they don’t with Martin.

Of course, this matter could be easily resolved if the Bucs draft Dalvin Cook.

As Joe told Donovan and Jacobson and the WDAE-AM 620 listening audience, if somehow America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, coerces AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht to sign Adrian Peterson, Martin is as good as gone.

44 Responses to “Can The Bucs Count On Martin?”

  1. DC_BUC_FAN Says:

    If we follow his pattern of one good one bad season yea…But we still draft a rb and keep him as insurance

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs are in a pickle? Easily painting themselves in a corner? Damned if they do, damned if they don’t with Martin? Not hardly to all of the above Joe. Bucs have Rodgers, Sims & Barber in the fold. Bucs will draft a RB next month simply because there are too many good ones available in the draft for the Bucs not to. Bucs are standing behind Martin while he’s in rehab which is the right thing to do. Once that’s complete, there are too many reasons to cut him loose, and too few to keep him. The only reason this is even an issue right now is the media.

  3. Capt.Tim Says:

    Good morning all.
    When you franchise QB is campaigning for Peterson, and to draft Cook,
    It tells you what he thinks of the loser known as muscleheaded hampster.

    He isnt flying out to the Rehab center, checking on dougie.
    Thats because Dougie has quit on him one time too many

  4. Capt.Tim Says:

    Joe, can you explain his contract situation? I thought his contract was null and void- due to suspension.
    Is that only if they release him?

  5. Kevinthepainterimagine Says:

    Sign a.p and restructure martin. Then draft a guy in the 4th. If Martin doesnt work out keep Barber

  6. tdtb2015 Says:

    Martin is gone!

    Licht is playing his cards right. He is hoping some team will trade for him before we cut him. Having him the first three weeks of the season could also mean a team loosing their running back due to injury may reach out and trade for him. But first, we must show he is healthy again.

    Is a win win situation for Martin and the Bucs if it happens. Meanwhile we support Martin to get back on track.

    Who knows maybe a team like Cleveland or the Jets will take the gamble.

  7. d-roca Says:

    Can they count on Dougie? NO. Go bucs

  8. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Joe, i think it’s fair to say that in any hypothetical situation, including one where the bucs draft Dalvin Cook; If we start 0-3 people will be in uproar.

  9. Joe Says:

    Joe, can you explain his contract situation? I thought his contract was null and void- due to suspension.
    Is that only if they release him?

    Correct. Contract no longer guaranteed.

  10. Capt.Tim Says:

    Thanks Joe

  11. Jeagan1999 Says:

    This is a deep class of running backs. I’m sure we will daft one….just in case. No need to make a decision on Martin just yet.

  12. Miko Says:

    always liked Martin, but i think you have to let him go at this point, draft and 1 year deal for AP!

  13. JonBuc Says:

    Time to move on…like now. He went sideways just as he was given a lucrative new contract. Arguably was a major reason the Bucs missed the playoffs last season.

  14. Ben Says:

    No need to make a decision yet on the poloarizing Martin. We all assume the Bucs will draft a RB in early rounds but who knows at this point if that will happen. When you finish a season 9-7 the Bucs are making sure they are doing what is best for the team whether that be keeping him if he returns to pro bowl form or dumping him if the right alternative is found.

  15. Lunchbox Says:

    Agreed with above posters. There are simply too many quality running backs in this draft to see them all go to other teams. We should, and in all probablity will, draft a RB. My preference would be Christian McCaffrey, but any of a number of RB’s would be good to get.

    Also correct is the notion that we don’t have to make the decision now. If I was making the decisions, it would be a wait and see with Martin, but while simultaneously knocking him down the depth chart. Martin hasn’t proven he deserves to be the starter. Draft a RB, and let the shiny new toy and Quiz, Barber, et al fight for the right to start. If Martin wants to get back in the good graces of Jameis and the Bucs, he’ll have to earn it and stay clean. If that’s too much to ask, cut him loose, plain and simple.

  16. Gencoimports Says:

    This is not a concern

    1) Doug should not be on this team if he doesn’t take a pay cut, regardless if he does everything correct in OTAs and preseason.

    2) In respect to preparing for the season by giving reps to RBs in OTAs and preseason, Just do it the way the Steelers did it with LeVeon Bell missing 3 plus games the last two years. You guys act like this situation has never happened before.

  17. Gencoimports Says:

    And you guys who want to take a RB in the first round are insane. Wait until rounds 3 and 4. The Bucs have way bigger needs even if Martin does not return

  18. Midnightstroker1 Says:

    I want mccafrey as well but I see the saints picking him up

  19. gotbbucs Says:

    He’s on the team at least until after the draft. No need to show your cards now.

  20. Midnightstroker1 Says:

    I would try mccafrey as a receiver. At 202 he’s really light for an every down back. I could see him more of a Julian Edelman type. Same size. If Martin returns I don’t count on him. If he leaves I don’t count on him. GET OVER MARTIN ALREADY

  21. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    6:30a.m. huh Blake😂. Working man??? Pull them pants up in the back.

  22. Fran Smith Says:

    I think we should Trade Martin and a Second round pick up to let’s say a team Like Cleveland just to get Dalvin Cook,sounds stupid yeah but let’s think Future here!Putting a guy like Cook back with America’s quarterback not only will make our Team better but we will have a young core of Guys(Winston,Evans,Cook)for probably the next let’s say 5-8 years and the reason why I say trade up for the guy is because he may not be available and it makes a wonderful life story, America’s Quarterback gets to have the Running back he had in College how cool is that

  23. macabee Says:

    Just to clarify the status of the Doug Martin contract. The contract with Martin for 5 years 35.7mil 7milyr is still in force (a legal term of art). With Martin, it’s not that the money itself is voided, only the fact that it is no longer guaranteed.

    If the Bucs do not cut Martin and/or renegotiate a new contract, By NFL rule because Martin is a vested veteran, if he is on the roster for the first week of the regular season, his salary is again guaranteed.

    An NFL player’s base salary is split into 16 weekly game checks. Martin would get paid his game check for every game that he is on the roster and not suspended. However, he won’t get paid for the first 3 games of the season because he’s suspended, but if we keep him on the roster then he’ll be paid for the other 13 at the originally contracted salary.

    Since Martin violated (not voided) the contract, the Bucs are not obligated to pay his 2017 salary. So any decision made on Martin would need to be made during the offseason as all guarantees would still be voided at that time…but would also need to be made prior to week 1 because theoretically his 2017 salary would be guaranteed again at that point.

    So the Bucs have time to re-evaluate Martin during the off season to see where they want to go as Martin can do nothing, nor can any other team talk to him for fear of tampering because he is still under contract. But they must act before the first week of the regular season as I assume they will.

  24. Drew Says:

    Martin needs to walk the plank.

  25. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Work is from 7-5:30

  26. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    macabee stole my thunder.

    The way I view the Martin situation is this:

    He would make excellent depth at the right price IF he has kicked the drug issue.

    Really, that’s all it comes down to. He’s not going to be our bellcow. That ship has sailed.

    As to keeping him, technically the Bucs can wait on deciding until he finishes his suspension…but is that really the case? When does this year’s salary become locked in? That’s when they must decide by.

  27. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Joe asks this because the Bucs, if they choose the wrong formula, could be staring at an 0-3 start. If that happens, the Bucs are all but certain to begin planning for 2018 before October arrives.”

    I disagree 100%.

    The fans will be giving up, yes. Tampa fans give up after 1 loss every year (remember when we lost to the Titans?)

    Three losses would have them calling for jobs.

    However, the Buccaneers season would not be over. Not at all.

    Last year, they lost 3 of the first 4 games. Did it blow their season? nope. Still had their first winning season.

  28. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    😉gotcha bro.

  29. Ty_in_STL Says:

    This answer is so clear…

    Sign Martin to a one-year prove it deal with club option for a second year. Sign Adrian Peterson also. He can start for the first three games w/ Sims the 3rd down back and then after 3 games, both Martin and Peterson can split duties until one of them is the clear cut choice. The experienced backfield will protect Jameis and bolster our run game at the same time.

  30. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Sign AP so this trash is gone. His contract will be voided since he violated the drug policy. Let some other team deal with his ish. His only good years were the ones that had to be, his rookie year and his contract year. That’s called a lazy bum collecting checks.

  31. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Give AP 3 million guaranteed and the potential to make another 3 or 4 with incentives. He is motivated to show he can still be a good RB in this league. If Jameis signs off I’m down.

  32. briandorry55 Says:

    I wouldn’t worry about how to split the reps. Rodgers stepped in last season off the street and hit the ground running just fine. I would operate as if Martin will not be on the team and hope that he shows up in shape and has a great offseason. The money is not an object here, in my opinion. We paid more than $7 million last year for Sweezy to hang out on the couch. Even if we draft Cook or McCaffrey…this is the running back position we are talking about…the more the merrier. We could have bigger problems then going into the season with Cook/McCaffrey, Martin, Rodgers, Sims…in all likelihood, one of them will be banged up along the way…or more than one. We may get to Week 4 and be in need of Martin’s services.

  33. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Bonz it did blow our season cause we didn’t make the playoffs. Having a winning season is trivial if you are on the couch watching the playoffs. Being content with just a winning record is whats wrong with a lot of our fan base.

  34. BigHogHaynes Says:

    With Doug time is on the Bucs side! Gather all the info, work the guy in training camp, then Coach K will make his decision!

  35. BigHogHaynes Says:

    A lazy bum collecting checks, your stupid, so I guess we’ve had an above average O-Line for the last 4 years….Hell Doug made that bum-ass O-Line look like World Beaters for two years!

  36. BigHogHaynes Says:

    A lazy bum collecting checks, you’re stupid, so I guess we’ve had an above average O-Line for the last 4 years….Hell Doug made that bum-ass O-Line look like World Beaters for two years!

  37. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    He had 2 good years. He did nothing in year 2 and 3. He averaged 2.9 ypc last season with this line and Quizz came in off the street and did way better. He averaged 4.3 behind the same guys. Desire is the issue not our line. Good try tho

  38. America's Commenter Says:

    Macabee, what are the Bucs’ contractual obligations to Doug Martin if he sustains a football-related injury during mini-camp or training camp?

  39. Capt.Tim Says:

    This draft is unusually deep at several positions.
    Rb, WR, S,and De
    At all 4 Positions, you call get a quality starter in the 4th round. Incredible depth. On the other hand, glad we dont need a QB.

    In a draft with this many young, hungry, talented RBs, its a terrible Idea not to get one. Better than to trust a guy who has quit on you, 3 out of 5 years.

    Its the cultural change that Jameis talks about.
    He wants to win, with every cell in his body.
    We need to keep surrounding him with Guys that feel the same way.

    Doug Martin isnt that guy.

    Draft a great young back- see if Adrian wants to sign a one year deal
    Then we are set a RB. Rotate those two, along with Sims- dangerous

  40. Pickgrin Says:

    macabee Says:
    March 30th, 2017 at 9:09 am
    “if he is on the roster for the first week of the regular season, his salary is again guaranteed…. they must act before the first week of the regular season”

    This would be true if Martin was not suspended for the 1st 3 games. Because he is suspended – the Bucs will not have to make a decision until after week 3 regarding whether to cut Martin (and then possibly re-sign him to a lesser contract) as a FA or keep him and pay him the pro rated amount on $7M for the 13 games.

    As I posted yesterday – many are saying “rework Martin’s deal and keep him” – but it doesn’t work like that. Martin is under contract and the only way the Bucs get out of paying him $7M (minus the 3 games) and still have him on the team this year is to cut him and then re-sign him after being cut. And of course after being cut, Martin is a FA and can sign with any other team if that’s what he chooses to do.

    So bottom line – Martin WILL almost certainly be CUT. No way we pay him his $7M (minus the 3 games) this year.

    The smart thing to do is just wait and see how it all plays out and make the decision about Martin after week 3 when he is eligible to come back after suspension. At that time the Bucs will have a lot more information to work with. Does Doug look good on the field in TC and pre-season? Has he done everything asked of him regarding rectifying his drug dependency and are all his multiple pee tests clean? Have we had any injuries to other Bucs RBs in pre-season and the 1st 3 games? Have any other teams had a season ending injury to their #1 RB and thus perhaps willing to trade for Martin? These are all factors that will go into the decision.

    But the very high probability is that Doug Martin will be cut after week 3 when he comes back from suspension. And if the Bucs DO want him back at a lower salary (and Doug wants to play for the Bucs this year) then an agreement for a new deal would have likely already been discussed between Licht and Martin prior to the cut and he would be quickly re-signed after being cut.

  41. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Thank you Captain Tim.

  42. macabee Says:


    There is a small difference in that Doug is under contract. Nothing has changed except that by virtue of his violation the Buc are not obligated to pay his guaranteed money.

    Doug is on the team now but suspended from regular season play. If nothing changes Doug will be on the team the first week of the season but suspended for the first 3 weeks. You are assuming because he is suspended that he has no rights under the CBA. He is a contracted NFL player.

    He will still be on the roster just not on the 53 man active roster. But he is still a Buc and all the rights and privileges of the CBA accrue to him. The Bucs did not sign Joe Hawley until the 2nd week of the 2016 season to avoid having to guarantee his salary if he didn’t work out. Martin’s situation is different. He is already under contract but would be listed on the roster as Reserve/Suspended. Suspended players are allowed to practice and play in preseason games, go to meetings, as any other player, just can’t play in a regular season for which he has been suspended.

    If Martin is hurt he has all the rights of an injured player including IR. That is why the Buc will probably settle this matter way before the end of the 3rd regular season. And Doug does not have to be cut requiring a new contract. That is possible but not a requirement. He may agree to restructure the existing contract. Doug has some say left too. WE cut him he gets a much stronger. Doug is from Oakland. They have not replaced Latavius Murray yet. Mike Greenberg is the best in the Business, the Bucs will get this right!

    It is complicated, but Koetter says he likes Doug so anything can happen. My point is I think this is resolved sooner rather than later for obvious reasons.

  43. Pickgrin Says:

    macabee – I disagree with your contention that Doug’s contract becomes guaranteed if he doesn’t get cut before week 1 of the regular season. The fact that he is suspended for the 1st 3 games means those normal vet clauses do not apply until he becomes un-suspended. For those 3 weeks, DM will not be able to enter the building at OBP. It will be like he doesn’t even exist basically – and neither do his “rights” as a veteran to have his contract guaranteed if he is “on the roster” after final cut-downs. He’s not on the roster – he’s suspended from the league in every way shape and form weeks 1,2 and 3 in 2017.

    The Bucs can keep him through TC and pre-season – cut him at the conclusion of week 3 in the regular season and owe him nothing. High probability that’s how it goes down IMO. After that, maybe he’ll be back – maybe he won’t. That’s between Licht and Doug Martin to work out if the coaches decide they want/need him back and Doug wants to be here for 13 games this season.

  44. Trubucfan22 Says:

    It funny that joe says those RBs need some extensive work…. rodgers was signed after the season started. Barber wasnt even on the 53 man roster to start the season. How did those guys do for us when called upon? With absolutely no reps!

    RBs are plug and play. They dont need a ton of work. And there are plenty of reps to go around in training camp. Besides it’s not like Martin would need a lot of work. He knows the system well, he just needs to get his body in shape.

    And joe setting it up if the bucs keep martin and we lose the first 3 games that it will somehow be Martin’s fault. What a joke. We get it, you hate Doug. It is up to the coaches and GM to prepare the team to win games. stop trying to make this situation so complicated. Martin is here, and he will be here until the bucs give up on him. I for one hope doug can rebound. I dont know why you take such a pessimistic view. Martin sucked last year, ok so did a lot of other players throughout the season. Yet Martin is always the focal point for joe. Joe is blind to the fact the o line sucked last year. Continually defending the o line even though Koetter himself told Joe that he is making changes to the o line. You don’t move your best player on the o line if the o line is already great. We have 2 starting Centers under contract, yet want to move our best guard to play center. But please tell me again how good joe Hawley is, and how this o line is already set. They have a game of musical chairs going on with 3 positions on the o line sith question marks. RT RG and C are all situations that need to be closely monitored. Im still no fan of Dotson returning as the undisputed starting RT. What can we expect from sweezy? And can Marpet play center at the NFL level? There are story lines there and Joe seems to just sweep it under the rug and say the o line is locked, loaded, ready to go…. yeah ok…