By Tyler Bischoff
The Raiders may be asking Marshawn Lynch to take a pay cut in 2018, and as a back-up plan, Jon Gruden is looking around at other veteran running backs,
Sources: #Raiders coach Jon Gruden recently arranged for a face-to-face meeting with former #Bucs RB Doug Martin and came away impressed with him as a person. Oakland expected to make a strong push for Martin in free agency.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2018
Martin was released by the Buccaneers last month, making him a free agent. The 29-year old back could be replacing Lynch next year as the Raiders go-to back.
Martin had a breakout 2015 where he rushed for 1,402 yards on 4.9 yards per carry. But since then his career has bottomed out.
He was hit with a substance abuse suspension in 2016. For the last two seasons he has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in 19 games played. That works out to an average of 15 carries per game for under 50 yards rushing per game.
Meanwhile Lynch, returning from a one-year retirement, ran for 4.3 yards per carry last season for the Raiders. He came on strong to finish up with 891 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.
Lynch carries a cap hit of $5.9 million for next season. Martin was going to cost the Buccaneers $6.75 million against the cap before he was released. So Martin might come at a discount, but it likely won’t be that significant compared to Lynch.
There is the possibility that Martin could be added as a compliment to Lynch. But that would mean the Raiders would be tying up around $10 million in two veteran running backs that overlap in skill sets.
Martin wouldn’t add much to the passing game, as he has just 23 receptions in his last 19 games played. He could possibly provide fresher legs, as Martin has less than half the career carries of Lynch.
The one other possibility that would make Martin a sensible target for the Raiders is Lynch leaving. If Lynch decides to retire again, then Gruden maybe looking for a like-for-like replacement. Martin could be that guy.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.