When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers declined to pick up the fifth-year option on running back Doug Martin last May, it meant Martin would be scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2015 season.
After a resurgent 2015 campaign that saw Martin rush for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns, Martin has put himself among the top running backs that could hit the market when the new league year starts in March.
However, Martin and the Buccaneers are already talking about a new contract to keep him in Tampa. On PFT Live with Mike Florio from Radio Row at the Super Bowl on Thursday, Martin stated his desire to remain with the Buccaneeers.
“I love Tampa and Tampa loves me,” Martin said. “I’ve got a house out there so I do wish I’ll go back to Tampa.”
If a contract can’t be reached in the coming weeks, the Buccaneers could elect to use the franchise tag on Martin to keep him in Tampa.
“I’ll play the year and we’ll see what happens,” Martin said regarding if he was designated a franchise player. “Those negotiations are being talked about behind the scenes.”
Meanwhile, Martin will be playing for a new head coach in Dirk Koetter after Lovie Smith was fired last month. Martin said the decision to let Smith go caught the team by surprise.
“Yeah, it was a surprise,” Martin said. “It was shocking to everybody cause he progressed last year. Everybody saw us getting better so we thought we were going to get Lovie back and do more great things but that wasn’t the case. We promoted Koetter, our previous (offensive coordinator), and I think he’s going to do an awesome job. He’s going to do a great job with the Bucs and I can’t wait to play for him.”