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Buccaneers fail to franchise tag Doug Martin, opening the door for free agency

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have failed to use either the franchise or transition tag on Doug Martin as the deadline passed, opening the door for him to hit free agency. While the two parties are discussing a long-term contract, reports have been up-and-down on the likelihood of that getting done before the start of free agency.

That's as expected. Using the franchise tag on Martin would have cost them $11.79 million, while the transition tag, which only grants right of first refusal, would have cost them $9.65 million. The Bucs can afford those numbers, but they don't want to pay them. If they did, they would have figured out a long-term deal for the Dougernaut already.

Martin is widely believed to be seeking a deal close to $8 million per year, which is what second-tier running backs (those not called Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch) have generally gotten on the open market.  That's too rich for the Bucs, who have $50 million in cap space they apprently want to spend elsewhere. The Bucs have two weeks to come to terms with Martin's agent, or he'll get to officially field offers from other teams.