Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, but does he deserve an extension?
Martin’s four-year contract with the Bucs is set to expire at the end of the 2015 season. He’s been playing well for the Buccaneers but last season was a poor season for him.
Last season he only managed 494 yards from 134 carries and two touchdowns in 11 games. This was only slightly better than the season before where he only played six games, managing 456 yards from 127 carries and one touchdown.
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Martin has failed to come anywhere near to replicating his rookie season which earned him 1,454 yards from 319 carries and 11 touchdowns. This is mainly down to injuries over the past two seasons.
The problem is Martin may be too injury prone for the Bucs to continue with after this season. He does deserve a new contract because the injuries haven’t come of any fault of his own, but the Bucs might not take the risk.
If you took the injuries out of the question and asked it again, the Bucs still might say no because of the fact Martin cannot break tackles or make defenders miss.
According to Pro Football Focus, Martin has only forced 19 missed tackles over the past two seasons, and eight of those came last season. His attempts per missed tackle are down from his rookie season of 6.0, to 16.9 attempts last season.
Fans have stated how many times they have seen Martin just put his head down and try to plow over defenders, rather than keeping it up to find the gaps in the line. This might be why the number is high, because he isn’t looking for the gaps.
If Martin is allowed to become an unrestricted free agent, two of his possible replacements could be either Chicago Bears’ Matt Forte or New York Jets’ Chris Ivory.
Both of these players become free agents at the end of the 2015 season as well. Both players may be drawn to coming to Tampa if Jameis Winston performs well in his rookie season.
Alongside the quarterback and wide receiver Mike Evans, either one of these running backs would set up a nice offense for the Bucs if things go to plan.
After the past couple of seasons, Forte may be looking for some more money in his pocket if he was going to move to the Bucs. The two-time Pro Bowler has achieved 3,471 yards and 20 touchdowns from 803 carries since signing a four-year contract extension with the Bears in 2012.
This is why Ivory might be more of a viable option for the Bucs. His cap hit is roughly three times smaller than Forte’s, so he is more economically viable.
When compared to Martin, Ivory is a lot more elusive. According to Pro Football Focus, he is ranked sixth in rushing elusive rating with 64.6. He is also ranked fourth in the NFL in lowest attempts per missed tackled forced, averaging a missed tackle every 3.8 carries.
Out of his 198 attempts last season, the Jets running back managed 10 carries with multiple missed tackles, the fifth highest in the NFL. Only the likes of Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Charles, and Jonathan Stewart beat him.
He also had the eighth highest percentage of attempts with a missed tackle in the NFL with 18.2 per cent. 36 of his 198 carries had a missed tackle.
The Jets might battle to keep hold of him, but if the Bucs were able to obtain him, Ivory would be a more reliable and better running back than Martin. He could help the Bucs get in more scoring positions and also help them become a more dynamic offense.
With the Jets having a much smaller cap space than the Bucs as well, this move might be a more viable option for Ivory too.