If you had the misfortune of drafting Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin on draft day, then you have my sympathy. I too was duped into the notion that he could provide the kind of amazing stat lines he put up in his first season. Even before he injured his shoulder, I think a lot us would have found it therapeutic to toss a couple of darts at head coach Greg Schiano’s picture!
When Martin tore his shoulder, mixed reports emerged about the severity of his torn labrum. A lot of us lunged to grab his backup Mike James only to watch him put up a pedestrian stat line. Now this week, more reports have emerged that Martin might not be done for the season thanks to some miracle rehab, pain injections and other mysterious acts of healing performed by putting him a shoulder brace.
More than likely, this is all just another sophomoric attempt at gamesmanship by Schiano. The reality is that if the Buccaneers put their 2012 first-round pick and franchise running back out there with a shoulder stuck back together with chewing gum and wire, chances are that they could lose him for even longer.
The 2013 season is already lost to the Bucs, and it would be senseless for them to risk Martin. Even if they did, they are a team that is in the process of quitting on itself in bits and pieces. Should Martin be forced onto the field again, he’ll be playing in a guarded manner behind a line that is saving itself for 2014.
However, there might be value in Martin yet. He might just be trade bait for another owner who is desperate at the running back position and willing to make a move based on Schiano’s rumor mill. If your league doesn’t have a keeper structure to let you stash Martin for next year, then I think now is the time to try to trade him away before the Buccaneers admit the inevitable and shut him down for good.