Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said that they’ve had some “great discussions” and there’s mutual interest in him returning to Tampa Bay.
“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,” Licht said. “We’ll have to see how it goes.”
However, Stroud mentions that the two sides aren’t really that close in reaching an agreement and there’s a chance Martin could be seeking a similar contract to DeMarco Murray‘s five-year, $40 million contract that included $21 million guaranteed.
Stroud admits that there’s still time to strike a deal before free agency opens on March 9.
Martin has said in recent weeks that he wants to return to the Buccaneers.
“I love Tampa and Tampa loves me,” Martin said. “I’ve got a house out there so I do wish I’ll go back to Tampa.”
Martin also confirmed that his representatives are in talks with the Buccaneers about a new contract while adding that he would play out the season under the franchise tag if that’s what the team elects to do.
“I’ll play the year and we’ll see what happens,” Martin said of the franchise tag. “Those negotiations are being talked about behind the scenes.”
Last year, the Buccaneers opted not to exercise his fifth-year option, which leaves him in position to test the open market.
Martin, 26, played out his four-year, $6,787,528 rookie contract, which included $5.472 million guaranteed. He made a base salary of $1,315,572 for the 2015 season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the coming months.
In 2015, Martin ran for 1,402 yards on 288 carries (4.9 YPC) to go along with 33 receptions for 271 yards receiving and seven total touchdowns over the course of 15 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 2 running back out of 67 qualifying players.
We have Martin featured in our Top 100 – 2016 Free Agents list.