After Doug Martin’s rookie season in 2012, where he ran for over 1,400 yards, caught 49 passes for 472 yards, and scored a total of 12 touchdowns, things have been nothing but down hill. I’ve never seen a hamster roll down hill before, but after seeing this downward spiral of a football career I can only assume it isn’t a pretty picture. The downward spiral in his career isn’t necessarily caused by inconsistency as much as it is due to injury.
After playing in every game his rookie season he only played in six games in 2013. This was due to a torn labrum that occurred in week 6. Martin was then placed on IR and missed the rest of the season. In 2014 he played in a total of 11 games, missing a total of five weeks due to two injuries, a sprained ankle and an injured knee. Through those 11 games he only scored two touchdowns and averaged less than 50 rushing yards a game.
Then in 2015 we saw a glimpse of the rookie Muscle Hamster again. It was a good year for Martin and it gave us fantasy owners a sense of what this guy can do when he is healthy. He rushed for over 1,400 yards again while catching 33 passes for 271 yards and totaled seven touchdowns. And then in 2016 it was back to the same old Martin we had come to expect.
Martin’s 2015 season was like when your wife decides to go on a diet and starts working out. You are really liking the results you are seeing, you are liking the new her. You think this might be a permanent thing. Something you can come to expect, this is your new wife. And then Martin’s 2016 season is the moment your wife remembers that Taco Bell has really good food.
In 2016, Martin missed weeks 3-9 due to a hamstring injury and then week 17 when he was suspended for a total of four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. In eight games he posted a career low for rushing yards, yards per carry, and had no rushes of 20 yards or more for the first time in his career.
He will start the 2016 season missing the first three games due to the suspension that started with week 17 last season. Recent reports have said that Martin is out of drug rehab and was able to join the Buccaneers for their first day of off-season workouts. Martin was in rehab dealing with an Adderall addiction. Due to the suspension Martin voided some guarantees in his contract including his $7 million dollar base salary for this upcoming season. His salary is no longer guaranteed and the Buccaneers have an out to his five-year $35.75 million dollar contract. His contract still has four years remaining but coming off a suspension and the worst year of his career, why would the Buccaneers keep him?
I think Martin’s future with the Bucs depends on what they do at the draft and if they sign a running back in free agency. I think that is when we will know for sure if the Muscle Hamster will get a chance to claw his way back up the hill with the Buccaneers or will he get a new hamster ball from another team.