General Manager Jason Licht said Wednesday from the NFL Scouting Combine he plans to meet with the soon-to-be free agent running back's representatives, but admitted there could be stumbling blocks to getting a deal done before Martin hits the open market on March 9.
"We'll be meeting with Doug's people here," Licht said. "I know he wants to be a Buc and we want him to be a Buc. I'm sure there will be some obstacles, there always are in negotiations, but we'll prepare for either way. I'm optimistic and we'll continue talking with him."
Licht's optimism echoed that of coach Dirk Koetter, who lobbied for Martin last season. Koetter said he's hopeful the team will retain the spark-plug running back.
The biggest stumbling block Licht likely will encounter in negotiations is guaranteed money. Martin is reported to be looking for a deal around the $8 million-per-year range. Do the Bucs want to sink that kind of money in a running back who had two down years before bouncing back in a big way during a contract season?
If Martin moves on, Charles Sims would shift into a featured role. Licht said the team likes what the shifty back brings to the table.
"We really like Charles Sims. We love him in his role," Licht said. "We think he can carry the ball. We think he's very valuable in the passing game, more so, but we think he can carry the ball. You just never know on players until they are thrust into a certain role and he's never been thrust into a role where he's a workhorse, so you never know, but we like everything about him."
Listening to Licht discuss Sims, if the Bucs can't lock down Martin, expect him to bring in another between-the-tackles runner as insurance, in case Sims can't sustain workhouse production.
Some other notes from Licht on Wednesday:
It doesn't sound as if Licht has any intention of trading the asset.
"Right now, you saw what happened last year when the starter went down and the backup didn't perform as well as they hoped," Licht said. "I feel very, very fortunate right now that we have him on our roster, so I feel like we have two starting quarterbacks."
Translation: Blow me away with an offer.
Licht could hang on to Glennon as insurance for another season and take a compensation draft pick if the quarterback leaves via free agency.
- Logan Mankins is considering retirement. Licht said he's not worried about Mankins' return or departure, noting the team needs to add depth to the offensive line regardless.
- If you are doing a mock draft, slide a defensive player in the Bucs' slot at No. 9. Licht said his focus this offseason -- free agency and the draft -- will be on the defensive side of the ball (as it should be).