According to Stroud, negotiations between Bucs GM Jason Licht and Martin’s agent, Brian Murphy, failed to close the gap on a long-term deal that would prevent him from testing the open market next week.
Previous reports have said that Martin is more likely to sign with a team other than Buccaneers during free agency, even though the team has expressed optimism that he’ll be back next year.
Some have said that 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.
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.