It wasn’t a big surprise that the Buccaneers moved on from former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, releasing him two weeks ago. Martin had been both injured and had discipline problems and had been largely ineffective over the past two seasons in Tampa Bay.
Well, it appears that one of the suitors for Martin on the Free Agency market coming up is former Bucs coach Jon Gruden and his new team, the Oakland Raiders.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network was the first with the info on Friday afternoon:
Sources: #Raiders coach Jon Gruden recently arranged for a face-to-face meeting with former #Bucs RB Doug Martin and came away impressed with him as a person. Oakland expected to make a strong push for Martin in free agency.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2018
Martin signed a lucrative five year contract after rushing for 1,402 yards in the 2015 season, but never lived up to the expectations that came with it. We mentioned “discipline problems” above and that included him being suspended for four games at the end of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drugs policy.
Martin sat the final game of 2016 and he and the Bucs knew that the last three games punishment was looming at the start of 2017. He came to training camp in great shape and while eligible to participate in preseason games, looked good. Then, he sat the first three games, as required, but never regained top form.
He eventually began to give way to second year un-drafted back, Peyton Barber, who got more and more carries over the second half of the season.
That was in part because Martin suffered a concussion in the first half of the game in Atlanta in November and then, didn’t clear concussion protocol for the following week at Green Bay. Barber ran for over 100 yards in the loss to the Packers and only hastened the Bucs plans to use him more.
Then, prior to the Monday night game with Atlanta, Martin did something again off the field, and got himself suspended for the Falcons rematch December 17th.
The handwriting was on the wall at the point for Martin’s departure from the Buccaneers.
The Raiders are interesting choice for Martin to perhaps land for a couple of reasons. One, he grew up and was a high school star in Northern California before going on to break records at Boise State.
And two, he set the Buccaneeers franchise rushing record of 251 yards in Oakland his rookie year 2012 against the Raiders.
Martin would for the reasons above come considerably cheaper than the almost $7 million he was scheduled to make this year.
As for Gruden and their plans, he’s trying to talk RB Marshawn Lynch into playing another season. Lynch came out of one year retirement to rush for 891 yards and seven touchdowns.
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