The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will deactivate running back Doug Martin for the final game of the season, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The veteran running back was deactivated last week, with Jacquizz Rodgers taking his start and performing reasonably well.
Martin, the two-time Pro Bowl running back who was told to take a seat for the Bucs' 31-24 loss to the Saints on Saturday, will not be active for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Panthers.
In fact, the Bucs plan to sign running back Russell Hansbrough from the Giants' practice squad today, a move that appears related to Martin.
Martin certainly hasn’t been productive this year at 2.9 yards per carry and with several injuries, but he hasn’t played that poorly, and to sign a back off someone else’s practice squad to take his place is more an insult than a reasonable measure. Part of this will be both Rodgers’ and Martin’s inability to contribute on special teams, but still.
While this would make more sense if something happened behind the scenes, there’s no indication that that is the case. Dirk Koetter continues to say it’s all about on-field performance, while there have no reports suggesting any kind of off-field clashes.
Whatever the cause, Stroud suggests that Martin’s future with the Bucs is in doubt. That’s unlikely, given the fact that his entire 2017 salary is guaranteed, but it’s not impossible if the Bucs value a 53rd roster spot over the presence of Doug Martin on the roster. But that decision won’t have to be made until the very end of the 2017 preseason. At most, the Bucs might try to trade him, but who wants to give up a draft pick for a back with $7 million guaranteed coming off a very poor season?