Buccaneers cut former first round pick Doug Martin after six seasons in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers parted ways with former first round pick Doug Martin on Tuesday afternoon. 

His release, first reported by Rick Stroud, comes as no surprise given his lack of production over the past two seasons. Martin failed to break the 450 rushing yard barrier in 2016 and 2017 and has missed multiple games due to injury in four of his six seasons as a pro. 

In each of his two full seasons (2012 & 2015), the former Boise State standout excelled, making two Pro Bowls and rushing for 1454 and 1402 yards respectively. 

However, the cap space that they will save, coupled with the emergence of Jacquizz Rodgers and a strong draft class at the running back position, make this a shrewd decision by Jason Licht. 

Martin looked to be a star in the making following a Pro Bowl berth in his rookie year, but consistent injury worries have halted his career at multiple junctions since. He missed the first four games of the 2017 season due to a suspension for PED’s and was largely ineffective upon his return. 

Operating at just 2.9 yards per carry over the past two seasons, Martin will find it hard to nail down a long term deal worth anything like the five-year $37.5 million deal he earned in Tampa. 

And, for the most part, fans and media members alike seem to agree on the move by the Bucs.

It was all good wishes for the talented back though.

The 29-year-old’s battles with the injury bug have held him back from reaching his enormous potential and he certainly won’t be short of suitors. But, teams should be wary of his his inability to stay healthy before basing their running game around him.

Martin may have to accept a role as a change of pace back and could well find himself on a contending team as a role player. If Dion Lewis leaves New England in free agency, this could be a typical Patriots type signing in the making.

With the reemergence of the running game as a staple, and the diversification of NFL offenses, players with talent like Martin’s are invaluable in today’s game. The 29-year-old could be a fantastic complimentary back, or form a lethal duo with a number of backs around the league in the image of a Devonta Freeman-Tevin Coleman partnership.

Martin’s now former teammate Gerald McCoy lauded his talents and wished him well upon hearing the news: 

Someone will gamble on him because he is simply too talented to go unwanted, and he could be a piece that takes an offense to the next level. If he can stay healthy that is. 

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