According to Rapoport, the Raiders, Jaguars and Seahawks could all be possible suitors for Martin in the event he and the Buccaneers are unable to reach an agreement in the coming weeks.
Rapoport did, however, mention that he still believes that the Bucs are the strong favorite to re-sign Martin.
“In these situations – when he wants to be there and the team wants him – usually those kinds of deals get done,” Rapoport said. “It just makes so much sense. You just don’t want to be in the business of developing guys and then giving them to someone else to succeed. To me, the Bucs look like they’re getting ready to win, so you’d like to keep it together. He’s part of their core, he’s a good guy and players like him.
“My thought is, if the Bucs are going to keep him, which I think is really possible, it’s not going to happen until March 8, which is fine,” Rapoport said. “Let him look around, see what his market is, see if he wants to stay where he’s been successful. If he can go out and get a lot more money, than he probably should.”
Last nigth, Roy Cummings of the Tampa Bay Tribune reported that Martin is more likely to sign with a team other than Buccaneers on first day of free agency.
On Wednesday, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht told reporters at the Scouting Combine that he’s optimistic about retaining Martin and plans to meet with his agent in the coming days.
“I know he wants to be a Buc and we want him to be a Buc,” Licht said, per Rick Stroud. However, Licht did say that there still some “obstacles” that could impact negotiations.
Stroud previously reported 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.
Should Martin move on, the Titans could also be a team to watch, given that they could use a No. 1 running back and new GM Jon Robinson is familiar with Martin from his time in Tampa Bay.
The Jaguars and Raiders figure to be in the market for a running back and have plenty of cap space to work with. The same can’t be said of the Seahawks, but it wouldn’t be surprising to at least see them check in on available options.
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.
Last year, the Buccaneers opted not to exercise his fifth-year option, which leaves him in position to test the open market.
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.