According to Scott Reynolds of the Pewter Report, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht will meet with free agent RB Doug Martin‘s agent, David Dunn, at next week’s Scouting Combine to discuss a contract extension.
Reynolds writes that two sides are likely $2-3 million per year apart in negotiations at this point in time, but there’s hope that they could close the gap next week.
Rick Stroud recently reports that Martin is hoping to “hit the jackpot” this offseason and will likely test the free agent market.
Martin could be looking for a similar contract to the five-year, $40 million deal signed by Eagles RB DeMarco Murray last year, but it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the Bucs to offer him this kind of money without knowing if that’s what he could get on the open market.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said previously 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.”
Martin has also 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.”
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.