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Doug Martin expected to hit free agency as Buccaneers won't meet his demands

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will see Doug Martin hit free agency, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Rick Stroud says talks between the Bucs and Martin have failed to close the gap, as it's been widely reported that Tampa Bay is unwilling to pay top-of-the-market money for the Dougernaut.

Discussions between Martin's agent, Brian Murphy and Bucs general manager Jason Licht as late as Saturday afternoon had failed to close the gap to prevent Martin from being able to talk to teams and possibly reach an agreement either Monday or Tuesday.

This means Doug Martin will hit free agency, or at least be allowed to talk to teams on Monday during the legal tampering period. Free agency itself starts on Wednesday, which is when Martin will be allowed to actually sign a contract with a team not called Tampa Bay.

This doesn't mean Martin, who was the NFL's second-leading rusher last year, will sign elsewhere. While he will undoubtedly see some interest in free agency, it's been hard for running backs to get good contracts for the past few years. If Martin can't find the deal he's looking for outside of Tampa, it's likely he returns -- because ultimately, both he and the Bucs want to be reunited. Just not at all costs.