A few weeks ago, it was clear the Bucs believed RB Doug Martin (No. 22, Boise State) would make it to free agency. The silence that followed the meeting between Martin’s agent and GM Jason Licht last week did nothing to change that perception and at this point it would be a surprise if a deal is reached before the legal tampering period March 7-8, when teams can negotiate but not announce contract agreements.
No deal was expected at the NFL scouting combine, and there’s too much time left before the start of free agency March 9 for either side to stop posturing. The franchise tag, which would guarantee a one-year deal at $11.789 million, is not an option.
Losing the NFL’s second-leading rusher last season could be a big blow to the Bucs, who would have to address the position in free agency or the draft. That’s because they see third-year pro Charles Sims as a change-of-pace back and not a premier ballcarrier. He finished with 529 rushing yards and 569 receiving yards last season.
“We really like Charles Sims,” Licht said. “We think he can carry the ball. We think he’s more valuable in the passing game. … And the thing about Charles Sims is he’s never been thrust into the role where he’s a workhorse. So you never know how that would work out. But we do like everything about him.”