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The Buccaneers could cut Doug Martin as a cap casualty

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t quite need more cap space, and they have a lot of options to add some if they really need to — cutting Alterraun Verner, for instance. One move that seemed unthinkable last year but is entirely possible now is moving on from Doug Martin, though.

That’s what SB Nation’s Christian D’Andrea suggests could happen to the former Pro Bowler, whose suspension for PEDs allows the Bucs to void his guarantees and save nearly $6 million against the salary cap.

Goodbye, Muscle Hamster. Martin set career-lows in both yardage (421) and yards-per-carry (2.9) and earned a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in the process. While the team doesn’t have a good contingency plan in place for his absence, a draft filled with talented running backs could make the $5.7 million the team could save by cutting him too tempting to pass up.

Cutting Martin while he’s still in rehab (as far as we know anyway) would be pretty bad PR, and there’s always a chance he comes back ready to roll. After all, so far in his career he’s had several terrible years in between two awesome seasons. Last year was terrible, perhaps this year will be awesome.

But perhaps that doesn’t matter. The Bucs will need to find someone to carry the load, and if they draft one high in the draft (they’ve been linked to Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook) there simply won’t be much room for Martin to do his thing. If they re-sign Jacquizz Rodgers and don’t draft a back, that’ll leave them with some more flexibility.

It’s starting to feel more and more like the Bucs are preparing to move on from Martin, though. That may not involve cutting him — they don’t really need the cap space — but a trade for a very late-round pick, or a spot on the bench after he returns from his suspension seem highly likely.