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Buccaneers made the right choice to release Doug Martin

Earlier today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to part ways with two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin. The decision comes just two weeks away from the NFL free agency period. Martin was a first-round pick out of Boise State for the Buccaneers in 2012. A lot of hype surrounded him his rookie year, but the past two seasons haven’t been kind to Martin. He’s only played in 19 games during that time¬†and rushed for 827 yards and 6 touchdowns.¬†Getting good gains has also been troublesome in 2016 and 2017 as Martin has averaged just 2.9 yards-per-carry. The Buccaneers awarded Martin with a 5-year, $37.5 million contract after an All-Pro selection in 2015. His four game suspension in 2016 voided the guaranteed portion of that contract. Those issues along with injuries were key factors in Tampa Bay releasing Martin.

Tampa Bay actually decline to pick up their fifth-year option on Martin’s rookie contract in 2015. The six-year pro was set to make $6.75 million this season. With two great seasons and four not so great performances, the Buccaneers made the decision to end their relationship with Martin. Peyton Barber showed some promise and is a lot cheaper. Last season, Barber played in eight games and had four starts. The undrafted free agent rushed for 423 yards on 108 attempts. The former Auburn Tiger is set to make just under $1 million in 2018. Tampa Bay will also look to add a back either in free agency or the NFL Draft.

The decision to release Martin was evident and a good decision as well. Both the Buccaneers and Doug Martin need a fresh start. Tampa Bay has to start looking forward to their future while Martin needs to put his lackluster performance of late in the past. At 29, Martin still is capable being a very productive runner. There’s plenty of teams that will be willing to give him a shot in hopes of improving their ground game. The Buccaneers will save nearly $7 million in cap space and that money can be used to bring in some help after going 5-11 last season. Tampa Bay also cut defensive tackle Chris Baker today. Making moves and saving cap space will be crucial for several teams this spring. Welcome to the NFL offseason.