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Doug Martin is one of the best running backs in the NFL again

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Martin is currently tied for second in the NFL in rushing yards with 405 yards. Only Matt Forte has more, while Chris Johnson and Devonta Freeman have just as many. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus has him graded as the best running back in the NFL both this week and throughout the season.

That's quite a turnaround for a back who was near replacement level the past two years after a terrific rookie season. Someone the Bucs had so little faith in that they declined to pick up his fifth-year option, and had him split time with Charles Sims throughout the first four games.

You'd think Martin's resurgence was caused by quality run-blocking, but Pro Football Focus graded the run-blocking from the Bucs' offensive line at -8.2 combined on Sunday. That's impressively low, though their grades aren't the be-all, end-all of player evaluation of course. Martin did get plenty of help, especially down the field -- and the Jaguars defense found itself out of position a lot. The Bucs were fairly creative with their run-blocking too, though mostly on plays involving Charles Sims -- finding ways to get him to the edge and into space.

Martin has had to do more of the work himself this year, repeatedly redirecting in the backfield, finding extra room and making defenders miss, especially in space. Our own Gur Samuel should have some deeper analysis of what happened in the run game later this week, but Martin looked impressive both on initial and repeat viewing against the Jaguars.

All of this will lead to an interesting situation after the season. The Bucs declined to pick up his fifth-year option, meaning they'll have to pay up if they want to keep their running back in town. The franchise tag for running backs was worth nearly $11 million last year, which seems like a lot of money to pay a back who's had two good seasons out of four years in the NFL -- only two running backs get more than that per year. An early extension seems preferable, but Martin may want to hit the market instead. Are the Bucs prepared to throw cash at him to keep him around?