In an offseason with a loaded free agent class and a deep draft class, another name will join the list of available running backs this offseason. On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Doug Martin. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times first reported word of the release.
As a result of the move, Tampa Bay saves $6.75 million in cap space to direct towards other needs in free agency. The announcement doesn't come as a surprise given Martin's down play, injuries and suspension in recent seasons.
The 29-year-old running back experienced frequent ups and downs during his six-year tenure in Tampa Bay. After a breakout rookie campaign with over 1,800 total yards and 12 total touchdowns, Martin regressed the next two seasons with 950 rushing yards and a 3.6 yards per carry average in 17 games across the 2013 and '14 seasons.
In 2015, Martin bounced back and seemed to be the player we saw in his '12 rookie season. In 16 games, Martin finished with over 1,600 total yards, 4.9 yards per carry and seven total touchdowns. Naturally, he returned to the two-year dip during the '16 and '17 seasons with 821 combined rushing yards and a 2.9 yards per carry average.
We've seen Martin flash plenty of talent during his career, but hamstring injuries and some poor offensive line play paired with his own struggles led to down seasons.
He'll enter a free agent class with Le'Veon Bell, Carlos Hyde, Isaiah Crowell, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, Alfred Morris and a deep draft class. It could make things more difficult for Martin, who will likely be seeking an opportunity to start and receive a heavily-incentivized contract.
As for Tampa Bay, this all but secures the team will be drafting a running back in the 2018 NFL Draft.