The NY Jets will be in the market for a new running back heading into free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft. Doug Martin would be a nice addition to the team as he fits their needs well.
The Jets are thin at running back going into the offseason, as they only have one signed to the roster. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may franchise tag Martin, and NFL.com estimates the franchise number for running backs will be $11.5M. According to spotrac.com, assuming a $154M salary cap number, the Buccaneers will have $46,767,574 in cap space. So it’s highly unlikely that he won’t be tagged. However, if he hits the market, the Jets have to consider to add him to the fold.
Martin has bookended his four-year career with two 1,000+ yard seasons, gaining 1,454 and 1,402 yards respectively. He also had 19 touchdowns in those two seasons, with 12 in his rookie year and seven last season.
He has also had injury problems in the middle. In 2013 and 2014, he only played 17 games with six in ’13 and 11 in ’14. This season he also had five fumbles lost.
As many know, the magic age for running backs is 30, because they tend to diminish in productivity around that age.
Pro Football Reference did a summary on wide receivers, quarterbacks and running backs and how performance is affected by age. The metric that was used was fantasy points. From the ages of 21-27, a higher number of running backs showed improvement. However, a lower percentage of running backs showed improvement as they got older from 27 on.
This is also common in thought among many experts without said experiment. Martin is 27 years old and likely looking at his last big deal in the NFL. According to BucsNation.com, the expectation is that Martin will command an estimated $6-7M annually. If the Jets can work a deal with that average while still getting a deal that works out as with a low salary at the beginning, when he can prove his reliability, the Jets need to sign him.
According to the previously mentioned SpotRac.com table, the Jets only have $9,506,364 in cap space before cuts and salary renegotiations. If they make the expected cuts, Antonio Cromartie, Brian Winters and Breno Giacomini, they will than add $14.022M giving them a total of $23,528,364 in cap space for free agency and the draft. Negotiations with Darrelle Revis and D’Brickashaw Ferguson could get that number closer to a more workable $30M.
If Martin hits the free agent market, the Jets have no choice but to consider him as a viable option. They can work a deal that’s amiable to both sides and get the running back they need for success next season and beyond.