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Licht doesn’t regret passing on Martin’s fifth-year option

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The Buccaneers retained running back Doug Martin, but in an expensive manner. The team declined last May to exercise the fifth-year option on Martin’s rookie contract, which would have kept him under contract for 2016 at $5.6 million.

Martin ended up signing a five-year contract worth a reported $35 million just before the start of free agency, but Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht told PFT’s Mike Florio at the league meetings Tuesday that he looks at that as a good thing for Martin and the team, not as a loss.

“We put a carrot in front of him and he had a great year,” Licht said. “He doesn’t need a carrot now. He wants to prove he’s one of the best and can continue to be the best. In hindsight, I think we would have done that again.”

The full Licht interview airs Wednesday on PFT Live.

Martin ran for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns last season, surpassing the numbers in both categories that he’d posted in the previous two seasons combined. Licht said the Bucs see Martin as a key piece of an offense they believe will only continue to improve.

“We have a great young quarterback in Jameis Winston but it helps even further when you have a runner like Doug,” Licht said. “He runs angry. He runs tough. Getting him back was of the utmost importance. Jameis was texting me all the time asking, ‘is this done? Is this done?’

“He was usuing emojis, [praying] hands, the whole thing.”

Martin, who just turned 27, was able to explore outside interest during the NFL’s legal tampering period before signing his new deal with the Bucs.

“I think that was great for both sides,” Licht said. “He was able to get some love but he also saw we were serious about keeping him and how much we were committed to keeping him.”

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9 Responses to “Licht doesn’t regret passing on Martin’s fifth-year option”
  1. bcetour says: Mar 22, 2016 8:11 PM

    For anyone who has followed Martin’s career and his disastrous Year 2 and Year 3 production, it was absolutely the correct decision to not exercise the 5th year option.

    Prove it in Year 4, you stay and get paid. Replicate Years 2 and 3, and best of luck to you.

    Correct decision.

  2. patsxsaintsfan says: Mar 22, 2016 8:26 PM

    They did the right thing Martin doesn’t have that year without the motivation. The question is if he still is motivated and can stay healthy? I believe it’s the 35 million dollar question.

  3. chawk12thman says: Mar 22, 2016 8:31 PM

    He has continued motivation….he doesn’t want to be cut with such a positive contract and pay days in the future….Seems well done by TB and Martin……

    Sometimes, both sides are correct and do well.

  4. suhmonster90 says: Mar 22, 2016 9:42 PM

    I hope the MUSCLE HAMSTER keeps bringing it after getting paid. And that he never has a day avoiding his nickname

  5. baldbuc says: Mar 22, 2016 9:42 PM

    I think Winston will keep him motivated also. Hopefully he stays healthy.

  6. wolfiereasonedlife says: Mar 22, 2016 10:08 PM

    and the Broncos don’t regret not using a higher tender on CJ Anderson….umm I regret nothing.
    Also, hail Satan

  7. Florio Believer says: Mar 22, 2016 10:25 PM

    Fact is, what do you expect the guy to say? Hang the carrot out in front of the player and let him earn it.

  8. mysterytonite says: Mar 23, 2016 6:26 AM

    Such an odd trajectory for a running back. He was so bad in years 2/3 that his modest option wasn’t exercised. I can see an injury plaguing him for a year but 2? He must’ve gottes some good deer antler spray cause he was running like his rookie year. I just hope he keeps it up since the Bucs have invested heavily in him.

  9. Trapperpk says: Mar 25, 2016 10:33 PM

    Doug Martin will do the things he can control, running crazy and those things he can’t control, blocking and scheming, well that’s a coach problem.

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