The franchise tag period has begun, when teams can select players worthy enough to be donned with the coveted label. With free agency around the corner, Doug Martin has become a priority, at least to many Bucs fans. Many fans believe that we cannot get it done without Doug Martin, and with his performance last year, this idea may hold some weight. But whatever weight that holds, it seems Tampa will not be rushing to use that franchise tag on him or anyone, nor putting the rush on re-signing him. Martin wants to cash in on his abilities, and he should, whether or not he had two down seasons with an injury, he has proven himself to be a capable back able to hit the 1,000-yard mark with ease. Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht both agreed that Doug is their guy, and they want him to return as Tampa’s featured back. Considering this hasn’t been accomplished, yet, one has to wonder what is going through the collective minds at One Buc place. Are they considering letting Martin go, and trying their luck with another back? I would think that back would be Charles Sims, rather than drafting a back or spending millions on a free agent back. However, there are a few talented running backs making an appearance in this season’s free agency.
Matt Forte was recently released from the Chicago Bears, and would instantly fit right in. But with his price tag and the fact that we already have Charles Sims, who can run and catch, signing Forte may not be the best idea. Although, Forte has performed extraordinarily well, in his time with the Bears, but slowing down some due to injury, seems to have lost him his job to the young star, Jeremy Langford.
Chris Ivory could be a nice pickup. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets pay him and keep him onboard. He was a serious threat last year, and knee injury aside, I expect him to continue being a threat. He is a pure running back. 247-attempts for 1,070-yards and 7 TD’s has keeping this guy, making a lot of sense. I think Ivory will remain a Jet. If Doug Martin leaves, and Ivory is still available, Tampa should give him multiple looks.
Lamar Miller is one that most people will say “who is that?”, but if the Dolphins let him go, the Bucs should just pick him up just to have him on the team. Miller is another pure running back capable of 1000-yards, and he is good at securing the ball. He could be a decent pickup for a good price, and with 8 rushing TD’s in back to back season’s and an 85-yard long and a 97-yard long touchdown run in the last two seasons proves this guy can run. Another note: Miller has as many fumbles in his 4-year career as Martin had last season.
If Doug Martin makes a mad dash for the money pile and signs to another team, I would like to see a low-priced quality talent such as a Lamar Miller come in and compete with Sims. But, If the option becomes available; Why not spend a lil money and get Chris Ivory? But, then again, with the Jameis Winston show, who knows exactly how money will be spent in the offseason. Money could be spent on protection, and receiving targets, and then there’s the defense which will be a top priority for talent placement.