Oakland Raiders: 5 pending free agents who should be re-signed

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images /
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Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /

4. RB Doug Martin (UFA)

Admittedly, I was skeptical about the Raiders’ decision to sign Doug Martin this past offseason. A former star who suddenly lost his way, he had spent his last couple of years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking like an incompetent copy of his former self.

Well, after Marshawn Lynch went down, Martin was thrust into the starting role and shined. During that 10-game stretch, he racked up 624 yards across 145 carries for a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. He also found the end zone four times, and even caught a few balls. Teamed with Jalen Richard, he quickly gave the Raiders a running game worth worrying about.

With that said, it’s not time to go all-in on Martin as the lead back. The more reasonable approach is inking him to another short-term deal, allowing the Raiders to develop a young back behind him. That then allows them to have a proven veteran in the backfield without having to rush a youngster into a featured role.

Martin may never rediscover the magic of his rookie season, and that’s fine. For now, the Raiders just need a capable starter who can move the ball on the ground and keep all of the pressure off the passing game. Gruden seems to like him, so chances are Martin stays put for now.