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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

More on the structure of Doug Martin's contract

The Bucs announced earlier today that rookie running back Doug Martin, the second of the team's two first-round picks, has signed a five-year contract.

That's true -- technically. But there's a little more to this.

Martin, like all other first-round picks, is signing a four-year contract that includes a team option for a fifth year. This is a new feature under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement implemented last year. Under its terms, all rookies sign four-year contracts, except for first-round picks. Their contracts must include the fifth-year option according to the CBA, which Martin's deal will.

That option, though applicable only to the final year of the deal, comes into play much earlier. Teams are required to make a decision on that option after the player's third season.

If they exercise the option, players chosen between Nos. 11 and 32 (Martin was the 31st pick) are scheduled to earn the average salary of the third through 25th highest paid players at their position in that fifth year. Top 10 picks (such as Mark Barron) must earn the average salary of the top 10 players at their position if the option is exercised.

[Last modified: Monday, June 4, 2012 2:23pm]


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