The biggest Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason question right now: will or won't they re-sign Doug Martin, the NFL's second-leading rusher in 2015. Recent reports have been pessimistic, and now ESPN's Field Yates predicts that Martin will hit free agency and leave the Bucs as well.
Jackson will stay for the final year of his contract. He's a team captain, widely respected in the locker room and critical to the continued development of Mike Evans. Martin will cash in elsewhere as a free agent. It's not easy to get paid as a free-agent running back anymore, but Martin offers the best combination of age, skill set and versatility to command good coin.
This makes little sense to me. If you're not going to spend on big-name free agents, and if you're not going to spend on extensions for your own players, what exactly are you going to spend your cap space on? Prudent spending is important in the NFL, but it makes little sense to be prudent if you're not going to profit by it elsewhere.
That said, the Bucs do have options if Martin leaves. Charles Sims had a breakout season and could do wel with a slightly expanded role, though he's still likely best as a change-of-pace and receiving back rather than an every-down grinder. That means finding someone to carry the ball regularly and complement Sims, and there are likely to be a few options in free agency: Chris Ivory, Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Lamar Miler might fit that description and would be cheaper than Martin.
Still, the Bucs are being publicly positive about retaining Martin. Jason Licht told the Tampa Tribune last week that they've been having "very good talks" with Martin's agents. Both the Bucs and Martin have made it clear that they want to reunite in 2016. If they don't, the reason will be money -- something the Bucs have more than enough of.