Jason Licht On Doug Martin: “There’s No Guarantees That He’s Going To Be Here”

July 30th, 2017

Joe has been flamed and cussed out for saying the following since January: Doug Martin returning to the Bucs in October is hardly a guarantee.

It’s nothing personal, it’s just the cold facts.

And now Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht is on record saying that even if Martin returns (not a lock) after serving the balance of his suspension — three more regular-season games — that the Bucs are not going to keep his seat warm.

Licht told Dan Graziano of BSPN that Martin might not have any job at all in Tampa.

“Look, he has done everything we’ve asked him to do, and he looks reminiscent of 2015 when he was playing for his contract,” Licht said. “He looks the same out there, mentally and physically. So he might be one of those guys that needs a carrot. And he’s got a pretty big carrot in front of him right now, because there’s no guarantees that he’s going to be here. And he knows that. We’ve talked to him, and he’s good with it. He goes, ‘I understand.'”

Again, this is nothing personal against Martin in any way, though Bucs fans want to make Joe out to be a hater. That’s just ca-ca in the highest order.

Look, Martin sought medical help to battle some sort of substance issue. Joe gives Martin a standing-O for that. One’s health is much bigger than football.

Like anyone battling such demons, there is always a chance at a relapse. Besides, Martin being out three games to start the season means he will be missing a lot of practice. You can’t tell Joe that Martin won’t be a little bit rusty.

Not just that, but what if, say, Jeremy McNichols wins the starting job to open the season and he is gashing defenses? You think winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter will bench him for a cold Martin.

And how many backup running backs do you know that are being paid in excess of $5 million?

Until today’s report, Licht was rather vague when talking about Martin, saying the Bucs had until Week 4 to make a decision on Martin’s future because he is suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season. There was also talk that the team just wanted Martin healthy and they thought he looked good in the spring.

Today, Licht’s guarded tone — and tune — changed. And still there is no endorsement of Martin, not even a hint.

Dirk Koetter last spoke in depth about Martin with the Ira Kaufman Podcast. Koetter said Martin’s situation and the possibilities for him on the 2017 Bucs are just a big maybe.

“That is all hypothetical, all right? Everything — how do I know if everything is going to go that way? Hopefully, at the end of the three games Doug is still in good health. But we have no idea what is going to happen to our other tailbacks by then. So, I don’t spend too much time worrying about that kind of stuff,” Koetter said.

“How can you have too many good players? I sort of look at it as we will cross that bridge when we get to it, because, why worry about it until you have to? We have a lot of other stuff that we need to be concerned with. You know, if everything was 100 percent perfect — I don’t have experience with a guy taking three weeks off and then coming back. So, you will have practices in there and we would have to see how we are doing as an offense, how we are doing with our running game. We will just have to see.”

Licht’s words don’t surprise Joe, of course. Interesting times for Bucs fans and the running backs room, especially with the pads coming on tomorrow.

As Koetter has said repeatedly, running backs really can’t be evaluated until there is blocking and tackling.

40 Responses to “Jason Licht On Doug Martin: “There’s No Guarantees That He’s Going To Be Here””

  1. Lamarcus Says:

    Gm Joe

    Although I’m banking on Martin. We need a dynamic rb to take this offense over the top. But I don’t care which rb does the job. Just on paper Martin looks like the part. Idk about those other rbs

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    Like I have been saying, drug martin is mostly an “insurance policy” against injury to RB’s this year!!!!! Love that the Bucs have all the options!!!!!!! I wonder is someone has spoken about this………

    OMG its another “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    May 18th, 2017 at 4:07 pm
    All the cards are in the Bucs hand!!!!!! Head Coach Koetter will get a great look at the running back stable thru training camp, preseason and 3 games into the season!!!! If the backs look good then it is cut/trade option for drug martin!!!!! Or if they are not getting the job done or injuries then its drug martin waiting in the wings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No decision until the 12th hour, unless a trade partner comes knocking!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (full comments here)https://www.joebucsfan.com/2017/05/yet-to-be-determined/

  3. The Anomaly Says:

    I wished we would have moved on already instead of having this discussion at all. He screwed us. And he sucks out loud as a RB. He played for that contract and stopped trying. Gotta get paid and then he stunk it up. Move on. He’s not welcome here.

  4. tmaxcon Says:

    Counting on Doug has been proven to be foolish at best. No way Licht trusts the Gerbil. Best case some team gets stupid and desperate and forks over a 7th Rd pick and a pizza

  5. Pint Says:

    Question for the Joes:

    Does the suspension essentially give the Bucs a get out of jail free card with regard to his current contract? Can they void any previously guaranteed money?

    I am assuming that if they don’t cut him outright, they will tell him he needs to take a big pay cut if he wants to stay, and rewrite his deal.

  6. Joe Says:

    Does the suspension essentially give the Bucs a get out of jail free card with regard to his current contract? Can they void any previously guaranteed money?

    Yup. The guaranteed clause in his contract was voided with the suspension.

  7. tnew Says:

    Martin will be a Buc come week 4. And I as a GM would play this exactly like Licht is. “Dangle the carrot.” Martin needs that, for whatever reason to play at his peak. He has never had to be this motivated.

    He has a 5 million plus contract if that he can earn. Any slip up, either performance or substance based and not only is he gone, he will have a tough time playing for league minimum, next season. Licht has shown him confidence once and was burned. There will not be a vote of endorsement for him. Just because there isn’t one doesn’t mean he’s likely gone. I would say its more likely he’s here. JMC is coming off of shoulder surgery and is a Rookie. Rodgers is a part time back, run him like a bell cow and he will play about as many games as last season. Sims is well Sims. Think about Koetter’s opportunity speech. When Sims name was called, he did’t answer that call. Peyton Barber, well, he’s got a lot to prove.

    At any case, Martin is a golden X factor. If he messes up, he’s gone, and the Bucs are still good offensively. But if he doesn’t, he can be the one difference maker that makes our offense go from being amazing to being totally indefensible.

  8. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Keep talking him up during camp, play the heck out of him during preseason and trade him to the first team that loses a RB during weeks 1-3. I think McNichols takes Sims spot early in the year, Then takes the primary RB spot sometime before the bye week. Rodgers backs him up and Sims goes back to 3rd down back.

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    Lichts key phase is “So he might be one of those guys that needs a carrot. And he’s got a pretty big carrot in front of him right now, because there’s no guarantees that he’s going to be here.”

    Why would anyone expect any different words from Licht?

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Thank you Cobraboy, my thoughts exactly. And Joe, how much clearer could Coach Koetter be than when he said, “How can you have too many good players? I sort of look at it as we will cross that bridge when we get to it.” Don’t need to make a mountain out of a molehill until after the 3rd game of the season at the earliest.

  11. Issic Haggins Says:

    Barber is the best runner on the roster, now blocking and catching he is not !!

  12. Mike Johnson Says:

    Truth be told, Martin is probably the best back our Bucs have right now. All this talk about he’s a goner is just that..Talk. Bucs would be wise to keep him and Martin would be wise to give this season his best effort. Martin ain’t going nowhere But..starting in our backfield..game 1 of the regular season.

  13. tmaxcon Says:

    Mike Johnson

    he’s suspended for the first three games so your prediction is already FAILED… dough martin is irrelevant to the bucs future… the 30 for 30 following is upcoming relapse will be far more entertaining than his career highlights.

  14. carry that mofostick Says:

    bye bye bye, finger in the eye, dancing with molly aint no jolly, go away for three, now see this cup and pee, damn how could it be, it’s positive you see, gonna miss my team, alas i lived the dream

  15. Cobraboy Says:


    There is a reason why Martin is running with the #1’s…

  16. Zwak Says:

    He will start when available..

  17. Pickgrin Says:

    Big difference between – ” there’s no guarantees that he’s going to be here” and “10% chance”.

    About a 50-60% difference I’d say…

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    Martin – the only 1st team all-Pro runningback in team history, something Dunn didn’t do, Wilder didn’t do, not even Bo Jackson – and you all think a 5th round rookie will take his job day one. LOL! I mean if the rookie is that great then awesome – make it happen – but this idea that Martin stinks is just moronic.

  19. martinii Says:

    When a poster disguised as a Buc Fan actually admits he finds the failure of a Buc player as entertaining it makes me sad, not for the player who has to earn his position each season, but for the poor poster who has confused football with life. Doug will be fine if he continues to produce. Jason Licht knows that, (key operative word “carrot.”

  20. tmaxcon Says:


    what makes me sad is the pathetic tools that deny reality… relapse rate is in the low 90% it’s a scam simple as that… stop making excuses for and giving crutches to people who make bad choices. he screwed his teammates so screw him. personal responsibility matters.

    martin is irrelevant. next!

  21. Wesley Says:

    They’d be foolish to release him, no way that happens.

  22. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    Nothing new at all. Nothing to read into from the GM. If Martin performs in camp, he’ll be here. If Martin performs AND McNichols performs, Martin will still be here. The Bucs are not going to hang THIS season on a fifth round RB over $6 million that they easily have. And 5th rouind pick McNichols, recovering from shoulder surgery who has just now suited up for the Bucs, will probably make the roster at least for this year no matter what. Charles Sims…less chance of all. May Martin hae a relapse? Sure. That’s also something NOT to hang a season on. Keep the man if he is performing….chunk him if not.

  23. Joe Says:


    So you are OK to “hang a season” on a running back who is more often garbage than good, who won’t be available until October and who already has one strike against him for substance abuse and the next one means he’s gone for eight games?

    And if you keep Martin as a backup, am sure Team Glazer would want a detailed explanation why they should pay top-dollar for a part-time player.

  24. martinii Says:

    I judge performance, not the player, anymore than that is way out of my pay grade. However. you twist it, it is still just a game, so mark this pathetic tool down as a fan not a Psychologist who’s day job is determine relevant. Oh, by the way Doug is going to have a great year, as much as that might piss you off.

  25. Joe Says:

    Oh, by the way Doug is going to have a great year, as much as that might piss you off.

    Won’t hack off Joe but that’s a gamble Joe’s not willing to take. Not sure why everyone is so confident in a guy who, three years out of five stinks out loud + has a huge contract + has a three-game suspension hanging over his head.

  26. martinii Says:


    I agree he is a gamble, I think all players are basically gambles, if they weren’t we wouldn’t have to root for them, but I sure wouldn’t place a Vegas bet that he is leading NFL rusher in 2017. For me it is fun being a fan and it’s just cool to think that maybe Doug will have a comeback year.

  27. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    Joe, I’m not hanging a thing on Martin. But I’m not throwing him away because he “might” have a relapse. If anything, the Glazers will be unhappy if they let Martin (who does well with that carrot) go because someone has a premontion the fifth-round shoulder-hurt guy is going to light it up and he doesn’t. Quizz spelled Martin pretty well last year. (when Martin was injured)..along with Barber and the others. Martin had two of five good….no GREAT years. When he was clean with a carrot he did well I’d say, and don’t forget…he was injured for two years. Injured doesn’t equal “garbage.” The way I see it, and the way Jason put it…Martin does well when there is a carrot there. Martin also said he owes a lot to this team, and has a chip on his shoulder. And so far, it shows, with much more time to go. There is probably as much an incentive for Martin to make up for failing his team as there is a chance of relapse. Also, who said Martin is the backup? I didn’t. Jason didn’t.
    Really, I don’t see this as any different than Kwon’s issue. And truth be told, Sims has missed an awful lot of time due to injury and isn’t jack running the ball when he’s healthy. Sims is in his last year and unless he lights it up this year, he won’t be back next year anyway.

  28. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    Joe, one more comment to yours where you said: “And if you keep Martin as a backup, am sure Team Glazer would want a detailed explanation why they should pay top-dollar for a part-time player.”

    I’d expect Jason will say, “Mr. Glazer, this kid was phenomenal when he had something to really go after…prove himself as a rookie, prove himself worthy of getting paid in a new contract. He was on fire. Yessir, he failed us last year; he knows that; we all do. It showed in his play. Now is his chance to prove himself again and prove he’s worth getting paid next year. Doug’s got the same carrots he had to do well before.”

    It’s not like he’s driving drunk with guns and weed in the car. But imagine the flip side.

    Bryan or Joel asks…”Why did you give up a known quanity already under contract who performed well in camp and seemed like he wants redemption” for a guy who can block and catch a ball on third down but not get a single yard up the middle when we need it? (Sims). Why did you keep Sims over Martin when Barber and Martin can both block just fine and I have DeSean and Mike and Cam and OJ and Rudy who can catch the ball?”

    I don’t know Mr. Glazer. I just through McNichols and Chuck were going to be better.

    I like the first scenario much much better.

  29. Eric Says:

    Still when healthy and head is right there is no one on the roster better! Not even close

  30. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I can remember Dallas Cowboys passing on drafting a guy named Randy Moss over concerns like Joe has over Martin. Gambling on Talent is sometimes worth it.
    Hypothetical scenario: Bucs cut Martin after all off season and not drafting or signing a replacement ( highly unlikely), then Patriots sign him and national tv gets to watch Martin gash Bucs D at Raymond James… now wouldn’t that be special…

  31. Cobraboy Says:

    Gonna be a lot of crow to eat when teams go nickel with 6-in-the-box because of 2 tight end sets with one split, and Martin runs for 1,000 in 13 games…

  32. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I do not understand all the Doug Martin love. I get that some cannot imagine anybody on this roster as good as Doug…without even seeing McNichols.

    McNichols is the 3rd BSU back this decade to come out with high hopes. Doug then Ajayi and now McNichols. Why is it so shocking to think McNichols COULD be as good as Doug. In COLLEGE…McNichols was BETTER than Doug…why can’t he continue that in the NFL. Why were Doug and Ajayi the guys who could do it and not McNichols.

    If we NEED Doug I’m fine with playing him. But the very best thing that could happen to the Bucs is for McNichols to be the real deal. If McNichols can do the job we can move on at RB…Doug ain’t gettin’ any younger. Doesn’t matter who we LIKE…McNichols working out if the very best thing that could happen for the Bucs…not relying on Doug. Again if we need him fine…but I’m rooting for McNichols bigtime…I got nothing against Doug…but I’ve never been a giant fan either….too many times cursing the TV when Doug was free and clear for a TD only to get hauled down from behind. McNichols will have the same problem…he’s a clone of Doug with better hands. But he will be the future and not the past.

  33. Cobraboy Says:

    There is no back on the roster that is better than Doug Martin, period.

    While McNichols *may* have “potential”, the definition of “potential” is “he ain’t done it yet.”

    Martin, when healthy, has always been near the top of Yards After Contact stats.

    The number of RB’s who can outrun DB’s is a very small group, not to mention physical backs like Martin who can do so. Always has been.

    Just keep this stat in mind for 2016: the opponents first contact with Doug Martin at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage happened on 41% of his carries. 41%. The entire team? 23%. Do some math.
    You do this math yourself, or are you buying the skewed nonsense PFF is selling? –Joe

  34. Joe Says:

    There is no back on the roster that is better than Doug Martin, period.

    Which Doug Martin?

  35. Sunny Says:

    May licht is talking to his agent about a pay cut and this is a leverage play

  36. Alanbucsfan Says:

    “He looks reminiscent of 2015 when he was playing for his contract” – Licht

    3 teams are rumored to have expressed interest in Martin – Packers, Giants and Patriots – not exactly garbage organizations-

    No way Bucs let him go to regular season opponent while he is looking great at camp

  37. FutureBucsGM Says:

    I’d be saying the same thing, Martin is pretty good with his back to the wall for some reason.

  38. Cobraboy Says:

    You do this math yourself, or are you buying the skewed nonsense PFF is selling? –Joe

    I did the charting and math myself, and sent the “other Joe” the results via email. I have posted them on this blog before.

    I charted EVERY CARRY Martin made in 2016.

    The NFL Game Pass has an archive of coaches films.

    FWIW, I used to chart films for a D1 program while in grad school, so I know how to do it. But digital is much easier than 16mm.

    And, yes: Martin was first hit at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage on 41% of his carries. Opposing DC’s consistently stacked the box against him.

    BTW: the Bucs were 6-2 when Martin played.

  39. Pickgrin Says:

    Yea that’s AT LEAST 1 yard behind the line of scrimmage on 41% of his carries – many of which were turned into 1 yard gains. There were also a fairly high % of 1st contact hits on Martin 3-4 yards behind the LOS included in that 41% as well.

    This has been pointed out to Joe numerous times before and was more than obvious even just via the eyeball test that Buccaneer backs (Martin in particular) were getting hit in the backfield at an alarming rate in 2016. But nope – Joe so far has ignored that important fact regarding Martin’s ineffectiveness the few games he was “healthy” last year and has also poo pooed the very idea that the run blocking by the Oline was quite obviously sub par – especially when Martin was in the game and defenses were walking an extra defender into the box.

  40. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Come on Joe, you can give Martin a pass on the 2014 season from hell. You remember, the one when McClown was qb and the Bucs had a high school coach as their offensive coordinator. And wasn’t he hurt in 2013? I get he sucked last year and being on drugs will do that. I’m willing to give him this year (hopefully on a reduced contract) and either draft or sign a potential replacement next season. If he performs in pre season, what’s the use of getting rid of him? I don’t see sims, barber, or even mcnichols at this point being any better.