Doug Martin trade gets floated as an option for Buccaneers

Scott Iskowitz

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could trade Doug Martin. But there's a pretty wide gap between "could" and "will".

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut Darrelle Revis, cut Donald Penn, cut Davin Joseph, traded Mike Williams and traded Jeremy Zuttah. So what's next? Well, Pewter Report is floating the idea that they could Doug Martin and stick with Charles Sims.

Interestingly, Spencer spoke the least about Martin compared to the other running backs on Tampa Bay's roster. An NFL source told PewterReport.com that Martin may dance too much in the backfield for the Bucs' liking, and that the running back's hesitation last year was just as much to blame for his underwhelming production - 456 yards rushing with just one 100-yard performance - as the poor play of Tampa Bay's offensive line. The source said that he wouldn't be surprised if Martin got traded prior to the start of the season.

That would be pretty surprising to me. For a team that supposedly wants to build its offense around the running game, and one without a definite, reliable quarterback, trading your best running back would appear to be a rather bad idea. If you want to run the ball a lot, you need to have a running back capable of carrying your offense to a large extent -- and Doug Martin showed that he could do that in his rookie season. None of the other backs on the roster have shown that ability on a consistent basis.

"Doug is our starting tailback," Lovie Smith said after the draft. "He's on most of the billboards around here. He's an All-Pro running back; there's nothing to dislike about Doug Martin. At the same time, we want Doug around for many years and by that you need to have some other guys, you can't carry it every second of the way. He's done everything we've asked him to do and couldn't be more pleased with him."

That said, if you want to add more future draft picks to build your team going forward, trading Doug Martin could be a good move, depending on the return you'll get for him. And that return may not be all that great. No running backs were selected in the first round of the past two drafts. Good running backs are still valuable, and great running backs are rare, but teams are figuring out a lot of ways to get by with running backs they don't need to be dominant. And that means that the market for a good-but-not-great running back like Doug Martin may not be all that hot.

In addition, having to build a run-heavy offense around Charles Sims, Mike James and Bobby Rainey is very different from doing the same thing with Doug Martin. It would hurt the Bucs' offense, unless Sims turns out to be much better than he looks. Trading Doug Martin, barring some exceptional trade offers, doesn't make a lot of logical sense at this point.

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