In post-Bullygate NFL, Martin out of work as Incognito gets second chance

Jonathan Martin started nine games for the 49ers in 2014. (Getty Images)
Jonathan Martin started nine games for the 49ers in 2014. (Getty Images)

Twelve months ago, the Dolphins traded offensive tackle Jonathan Martin to the 49ers, where he was reunited with his college coach, Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh and the 49ers parted ways after the 2014 season, and on Thursday, the team released Martin. He appeared in 15 games last season (nine starts), but ranked 60th among all offensive tackles, according to ProFootballFocus.com's metrics.

It wasn't long after the 49ers announced the move that Twitter reacted:

Yes, it's with some irony that Martin is now out of the league while Richie Incognito, the man responsible for bullying him in Miami, is gainfully employed with the Bills. But Incognito served his punishment; he was out of the NFL for a year and a half, and more importantly -- at least in the eyes of talent evaluators -- he's been a very good player.

According to PFF, Incognito ranked 25th among all offensive guards in eight games in 2013, and ranked 23rd in 16 games the season before.

So where might Martin end up? The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero tweeted this suggestion:

In related news, new Bills coach Rex Ryan explained in February the team's decision to give Incognito another chance.

"I'm anti-bully," Ryan said at the time. "I'm about the biggest anti-bully guy there is, especially in the locker room and in the community. ... We want to have a mean, physical football team on the field, but we want to be gentlemen off it. And I believe Richie will be that."

There's also this: "One thing you can't take away from [Incognito] is, the guy is an outstanding football player," Ryan said. "There's no question about it. The guy was a Pro Bowl guard, then he had this happen. I'm not making an excuse for him, but the fact that he's an outstanding player, that's what really interested me."

Which brings us full circle; it's why Incognito has a job and Martin currently doesn't.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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