The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not re-sign Doug Martin before the start of free agency next month. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times claims that the Bucs aren't likely to meet Martin's asking price, and may look at cheaper options in free agency to replace Martin.
"We've had great discussions, and I think it's pretty mutual he'd like to be here and we'd like to have him," Licht said. "We'll have to see how it goes."
But the two sides aren't really that close in reaching an agreement. There's no reason to think Martin shouldn't ask for DeMarco Murray money. The league's leading rusher in 2014 got $8 million per year from the Eagles to leave the Cowboys.
Fortunately for the Bucs, there are options available in the Dolphins' Lamar Miller and the Jets Chris Ivory. And Miller is only 24.
Of course, Licht said in the same interview that the Bucs want to build through the draft, developing players in-house. Letting Martin walk doesn't exactly fit that strategy, and neither does going with second-tier options like Lamar Miller and Chris Ivory. Those players may be able to help the Bucs' offense, but you can't build a running game around them the way you can with the Dougernaut.
More than that, trying to save a few million per year seems unnecessarily cheap given the fact that the Bucs are set to have over $50 million in cap space this year -- and that's with Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson returning, who are likely to be gone after this year. There's no long-term salary cap problem that will be exacerbated by paying Doug Martin $8 million instead of $6 million per year.
It's important to be judicious with your spending habits, of course. But that can turn to being cheap and letting good players walk over relative pocket change quickly.