Bucs met with agent for Martin, deal not expected this week
The Bucs have made re-signing RB Doug Martin a priority and that process took another step Wednesday.
General manager Jason Licht met with Martin's agent, Brian Murphy in Indianapolis. No deal will be struck during the NFL souting combine, which ends Monday. But none had been expected much before the March 7-8 period when teams can negotiate, but not announce deals with free agents. The signing period begins at 4 p.m. March 9.
Licht said during his press conference Wednesday that he was 'opitmistic,' the Bucs could re-sign Martin, the NFL's second-leading rusher with 1.402 yards and six touchdowns. But a few weeks ago, the team believed Martin may make it to free agency, which remains a possibility.
"I know he wants to be a Buc and I know that we want him to be a Buc,'' Licht said. "I’m sure there will be some obstacles – there always are in negotiations – but we’ll prepare for either way. I’m optimistic and we’ll continue talking with him.”
Agreeing on the value for Martin hasn't been easy. He turned 27 last month and had two outstanding seasons sandwiched around injury-filled ones. The Bucs invited this negotiation by deciding not to pick up his fifth-year, $5.6-million option.
A franchise tag, which would cost the Bucs about $11.5-million, apparently is not an option.