The Buccaneers have released RB Doug Martin— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) February 20, 2018
Martin, a former first-round pick by the Buccaneers in the 2012 NFL Draft, has been as up and down as they come in terms of performance.
He ran for 1,454 yards as a rookie, exploding on the scene out of Boise State and looking like a future franchise back. He played in only 17 games in his next two years for Tampa and suddenly looked like he might be a bust.
Martin then bounced back in 2015, with an All-Pro and Pro Bowl season in which he rushed for 1,402 yards.
The Bucs rewarded him with a five-year, $35 million contract extension in the offseason. 2016 carried high expectations but Martin struggled andfor violation of the league's substance abuse policy that caused him to miss multiple games at the end of the year. The suspension came amid Martin being benched while the Bucs were making a playoff push during the 2016 season.
His suspension carried over into 2017 and Martin would ultimately end up starting eight games and rushing for only 406 yards. That means in four of his six seasons in the NFL, Martin ended up not topping 500 yards rushing. In his other two years, he topped 1,400.
As noted by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the move saves the Bucs $6.75 million in cap space and means no dead money on the cap.
Which means the Buccaneers could be a team very much interested in pursuing a running back with an early-round pick or a free agent. However they land the running back, the Buccaneers need it to work out in what is becoming a pivotal season for everyone involved.