A year ago, the Buccaneers paid running back Doug Martin like a workhorse tailback. Last season, he didn’t perform like a workhorse tailback.
With three games left to be served on a PED suspension, Martin’s spot is hardly secure, even as he draws positive reviews during offseason workouts.
“Well, we have a deep group of running backs,” coach Dirk Koetter told ESPN on Thursday, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I mean, mainly due to injury last year we had to play a lot of guys. Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims, Peyton Barber are all guys who played for us last year. Then, we drafted Jeremy McNichols in the fifth round out of Boise State. So we will be going somewhat with a running back by committee. And then it is still yet to be determined what is going to happen at the end of Doug’s suspension. But Doug has sure done a good job up to this point with our offseason program.”
Martin’s suspension wipes out the guaranteed nature of his 2017 salary, making it easy and clean for the Buccaneers to cut him and to avoid the full amount of his $5.7 million salary. Whether the Bucs choose to do that depends in large part on whether someone else steps up and gets the job done at a much cheaper rate.
Yes, it helps Martin’s cause that he’s doing well in the offseason program. He’ll need to do a lot better than the rest of the in-house competition in order to cash the checks he’s due to make this year, especially since that money no longer is guaranteed to be paid to him.