The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 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.
Here is the official release from the team:
BUCCANEERS SIGN 2012 DRAFT PICK RB MARTIN
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they have signed 2012 first-round pick RB Doug Martin to a five-year contract.
Martin was selected 31st overall out of Boise State University, where he started 25 of the 51 games he played. During his collegiate career, Martin collected 3,431 yards rushing, the fifth-most in school history, and 43 touchdowns, the third-most in school history, on 617 carries (5.6 ypc avg.). He also totaled 67 receptions for 715 yards (10.7 avg.) and four touchdowns and 26 kickoff returns for 739 yards (28.4 avg.) and one touchdown, while adding 32 special teams tackles. A first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2011 and All-Western Athletic Conference in 2010, Martin became just the fourth Bronco to rush for 1,000-plus yards twice during their career.
As a senior, Martin carried the ball 263 times for 1,299 yards (4.9 ypc avg.) and 16 touchdowns. He also recorded 28 receptions for 255 yards (9.1 avg.) and two touchdowns, in addition to 10 kickoff returns for 338 yards that included a school-record 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
Martin recorded six 100-yard rushing performances as a junior, finishing with 1,260 yards and 12 touchdowns on 201 rushes (6.3 ypc avg.) in his first year as a starter. In his sophomore year, he recorded 765 rushing yards and a team-leading 15 touchdowns despite not starting a single game. That season, he also added 16 defensive tackles and a forced fumble as he shifted to cornerback for the first three games of the season.