Report: Doug Martin hopes to hit jackpot as free agent

The running back market could become saturated.

We already know Matt Fortewill reach free agency. It appears Doug Martin could be headed there as well.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Martin will become a free agent and test the market. According to Stroud, Martin is "hoping to hit the jackpot" after a career year.

Martin was the NFL's second-leading rusher with 1,402 yards, behind only Adrian Peterson in 2015. He added six touchdown rushes and 271 receiving yards.

"We've had great discussions, and I think it's pretty mutual he'd like to be here and we'd like to have him," Bucs GM Jason Licht said. "We'll have to see how it goes."

Per Stroud, the sides aren't close to reaching an agreement.

Around The NFL's Chris Wesseling suggested the franchise tag should be in order to keep Martin in Tampa. The Bucs, however, are likely to balk at a one-year tag of about $11.5 million -- even if they own plenty of salary-cap space.

Martin, 27, had a career renaissance in 2015. Finally healthy, the back was a human pinball, bouncing off defenders, sneaking through holes for big chunks and carrying a Tampa offense that was breaking in a rookie quarterback.

It would behoove Tampa to keep Martin in town. The Martin-Charles Sims backfield was one of the top tandems in the NFL in 2015.

The drawback for Tampa is investing at a replaceable position. While Martin might reasonably seek a DeMarco Murray-type deal ($8 million per year), the Bucs should work to shave a few million off that number.

It's likely the Bucs will allow Martin to find his free-market value before deciding whether or not they want to pony up the dough to keep him alongside Jameis Winston for the next several seasons.

With a bevy of running backs hitting the market in March, they could eat into each other's leverage. However, Martin and Lamar Miller are the likeliest candidates to get overpaid in free agency.

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