Sims (pectoral) will return as a key component of the Tampa Bay backfield, while teammate Doug Martin (suspension) faces a more uncertain future, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Martin's suspension cost him $7 million in guarantees, making it more palatable for the Buccaneers to simply release him in the wake of an ineffective season that was plagued by both injuries and the suspension. Even if he sticks around, Martin will miss the first three games, and then may have to re-prove himself to the team. Sims also saw his 2016 campaign marred by injuries, limiting him to 75 touches (24 catches) in only seven games. He landed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury prior to Week 17, but there's been nothing to suggest the ailment will be a factor for the upcoming season, which means Sims should be locked into his usual role as the passing-down back. He'll have the potential for a bit more than that -- especially if Martin is released or ineffective -- but the Bucs also have Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber in the mix for carries. Given Sims' injury history, Rodgers' middling track record and Barber's inexperience, the Bucs may also look to upgrade via the draft.
Sims finished the 2016 campaign with 51 rushes for 149 yards and a touchdown along with 24 receptions (32 targets) for 190 yards and another score in seven games. The third-year back couldn't come close to duplicating his solid sophomore campaign, as injuries limited him to less than half a season's worth of games. Sims finished the 2016 season on injured reserve due to a pectoral injury suffered in the Week 16 contest versus the Saints after missing eight games earlier in the campaign with a knee injury sustained in Week 4 against the Broncos. Had he not gone down with the latter injury, the West Virginia product was in line for what would have turned out to be an extended run as the starter, as Doug Martin would ultimately miss six games due to his hamstring ailment. Instead, Sims would go on to miss the following eight contests himself, which ended up opening the door for journeyman Jacquizz Rodgers to put together a potentially career-saving stint as the top backfield option. For the seven games in which he was active, Sims had trouble finding consistent running room behind an inconsistent Bucs offensive line, but did display his usual proficiency in the passing game when given the opportunity. Heading into the final year of his original four-year deal in 2017, Sims' outlook is somewhat muddled, as the Bucs' backfield is currently in a state of unexpected flux; Doug Martin, assuming he is retained by the Bucs, will open next season serving a PED suspension, while Rodgers' status with the team is still uncertain , given that he is now a free agent. Given his past body of work and skill set, Sims still profiles most in the change-of-pace, pass-catching back role that he's been deployed in over his first trio of pro seasons, but circumstances could potentially dictate an expanded role.
The Buccaneers placed Sims on injured reserve due to a pectoral injury, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Head coach Dirk Koetter relayed that Sims sustained the ailment during Saturday's loss in New Orleans, but there's uncertainty regarding whether surgery will be required to attain full health. In any case, the Buccaneers will be down their top-2 running backs in the season finale, as Koetter has already ruled out Martin for Week 17. With Sims and Martin out of the picture, Jacquizz Rodgers will handle lead back duties Sunday against the Panthers. Sims himself has been dealt an ugly hand on the injury front this season, landing on IR for the second time after missing eight contests early in the campaign due to a knee concern.
Sims' role will likely remain the same despite the news that Doug Martin will be inactive for the season finale on Sunday against the Panthers. Sims slotted into his customary complementary back role on Saturday versus the Saints despite Martin having been declared inactive for that contest, and that scenario is likely to repeat itself in Week 17 versus the Panthers. Presumed starter Jacquizz Rodgers has proven capable of handling a full workload, having tallied 30 and 26 carries in two respective starts earlier in the season in Martin's stead. Meanwhile, for the most part, Sims has proven to be most effective when afforded single-digit carries and five-to-seven targets in the passing game. A slight bump from the three totes that Sims received against the Saints is a possibility, but Rodgers should handle the majority of rushing touches, with rookie Peyton Barber also around to potentially handle any short-yardage work.
Sims totaled 12 yards on three rushes and secured all four of his targets for 30 yards in Saturday's 31-24 loss to the Saints. Sims was expected to get at least a slight boost in touches with Doug Martin (coach's decision) inactive Saturday, but essentially saw his role and playing time go unchanged. He was once again effective in his typical pass-catching role, while gaining all 12 of his rushing yards on one of his three totes. He figures to slot in for the same type of workload in Week 17 versus the Panthers, irrespective of who he shares the backfield with.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3 Year Avg||86||357||0||35||376||2||84|