We touched recently on the question of whether or not the New York should chase Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin when NFL free agency opens on March 9. Today, let's examine the question in more detail.
If you have been paying attention, you know my belief when it comes to Martin and the Giants. You know that I believe the Giants would have selected Martin with the 32nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Bucs, though, took Martin with the 31st pick and the Giants selected David Wilson. Might that color GM Jerry Reese's thinking when the market opens in a few weeks? Maybe, maybe not.
Should it? That depends on a couple of factors.
How do Reese and the Giants feel about the running backs they already have? Rashad Jennings is a quality veteran player, but he is 30, more workmanlike than explosive, and durability has always been a question. Shane Vereen is a terrific pass catcher and third-down back, but not an every-down between-the-tackles runner. Andre Williams is coming off a rough 2015 and whether or not he can succeed as a rotational back is a valid question. Orleans Darkwa showed potential in limited opportunities last season, but we really don't know what the Giants have with Darkwa.
Martin is really good, with two Pro Bowls, two 1,400-yard rushing seasons, an All-Pro honor in 2015 and 107 pass receptions in four seasons. Do the Giants, though, want to spend $8 million annually on a 27-year-old running back who already has nearly 1,000 touches rushing and receiving in his career? That is reportedly what Martin is looking for, with the Tampa Bay Times saying Martin is "hoping to hit the jackpot" in free agency.An $8 million annual value would be equal to what DeMarco Murray got from the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago, and would put Martin in the top five among running backs.
Spotrac has a Calculated Market Value for Martin of 6.9 million annually, expecting a deal of four years and $27.75 million. Let's say that would be the low end and $8 million annually the high end. Would Martin be worth that to the Giants?