There’s definitely something happening behind the scenes between Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 28-year-old running back was inactive for Week 16’s game against the New Orleans Saints. It was described as a “coach’s decision” at the time inactives were announced on Saturday.
— Brett Martel (@brettmartel) December 24, 2016
Now heading into a meaningless Week 17 tilt against the Carolina Panthers, Martin is expected to be a healthy scratch once again.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) December 27, 2016
Martin is averaging less than three yards per attempt since returning from a hamstring injury back in mid November. But that’s not necessarily all on him. He has not been aided by the team’s offensive line, which continues to fail in the run blocking aspect of the game.
With Martin inactive on Saturday against an average Saints run defense, the Buccaneers went for just 89 yards on the ground on 21 attempts.
The bigger question here is what this might mean for Martin and the Buccaneers over the long term. He returned to the team on a five-year, $35.8 million deal last March and is set to count $7 million against the cap in 2017. Unfortunately, for the Buccaneers all that cash is guaranteed.
Short of trading Martin, there seems to be nothing from a financial perspective that suggests the Buccaneers will be able to move on from the two-time Pro Bowler. Despite struggling with injuries and ineffectiveness this season, Martin is coming off a 2015 campaign that saw him put up nearly 1,700 total yards. He most definitely still brings something to the table.