The Raiders signed Martin to a contract Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. In his two full 16-game slates, Martin racked up 1,400 rushing yards both times, 743 combined receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns. However, the other four years with the Bucs were rife with injuries, ineffectiveness and suspensions, setting up his release from the team on Feb. 20. With his next destination determined, Martin can focus on a bounce back, but it may be difficult in a backfield populated by Marshawn Lynch, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.
Martin made a good impression in a recent face-to-face meeting with Raiders coach Jon Gruden, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Martin had two huge seasons and four clunkers in his six years with Tampa Bay, plagued by a mixture of off-field issues and on-field inefficiency. He managed just 2.9 yards per carry and three touchdowns on 138 carries last season, eventually losing the lead-back job to Peyton Barber down the stretch. As expected, the Bucs released Martin in February, allowing him to negotiate with other teams before the start of the free agency period March 14. It's no surprise that he remains unsigned, as back-to-back ugly seasons leave him somewhere in the middle of the crop of available running backs. Gruden apparently has some interest, but he's also expressed a desire to retain incumbent Marshawn Lynch. It's hard to see how the two would fit together, unless Martin were merely brought in on the cheap as a clear backup. The 29-year-old presumably hopes to find a team that will give him a shot to compete for its lead role. Oakland would become a strong fit if Lynch were to retire or be released in the coming weeks.
The Buccaneers released Martin on Tuesday, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. After following up a strong rookie year in 2012 with back-to-back disappointing seasons, Martin temporarily quieted his critics by amassing 1,673 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns in 2015, netting him a five-year, $35.75 million contract extension the following spring. However, Martin regressed badly thereafter, averaging less than three yards per carry in both of the past two seasons while missing time due to injury and an untimely four-game suspension, which delayed the start to his 2017 campaign. In cutting Martin loose, the Buccaneers will save $6.75 million against the cap in 2018 while taking on no dead money due to the structure of the contract. Martin's departure currently leaves Peyton Barber as the top candidate to start at running back in 2018, though there's a decent possibility the Buccaneers address the position through the draft or free agency in the coming months.
Martin rushed three times for minus-3 yards in Sunday's 31-24 win over the Saints. In what was perhaps a fitting end to both his 2017 season and Tampa tenure, Martin was in on just four snaps while ceding lead-back duties to Peyton Barber once again. The 28-year-old wrapped up the campaign with single-digit rushing yards in each of his last two games and no more than 51 yards in the last seven contests overall. Martin is on the books for $6.75 million in 2018, but per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, he can be cut without any cap penalty. With Barber seemingly proving he's worthy of at least entering OTAs atop the depth chart and the Bucs also likely to add to the running back position in next April's draft, Martin could well find himself on the outs in the coming months.
Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said following Monday's 24-21 loss to the Falcons that Martin was inactive for the contest due to an unspecified violation of team rules, RIck Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "It's done. That's just one of those things that unfortunately has to happen from time to time," Koetter said, regarding Martin being made a healthy scratch. "It's behind us now, and that's all I'm going to say about it." After missing one game while recovering from a concussion, Martin drew the start at running back in the Week 14 loss to the Lions, but played just 19 snaps before being benched after fumbling. It was suspected that Martin's inactive status Monday was related to his struggles in recent weeks, but it sounds like an off-field transgression had more to do with it. Though Koetter's comments suggest that Martin won't be subject to further discipline from the team, it seems rather unlikely that the 2012 first-round pick will regain his starting gig over the final two games, especially given how effective Peyton Barber has been in recent weeks. Barber has averaged more than four yards per carry in each of the last three games, while Martin has a putrid 2.8 YPC mark over his last eight appearances.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||Los Angeles Rams||27||19.00|
|5||10/07||@Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.38|
|9||11/02||@San Francisco 49ers||19||17.75|
|10||11/11||Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.38|
|13||12/02||Kansas City Chiefs||20||17.76|
|17||12/30||@Kansas City Chiefs||20||17.76|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||190||743||4||19||163||0||110|