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Tampa Bay Bucs express interest in RB Jerick McKinnon

Jerick McKinnon, 49ers

Earlier this offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the decision to part ways with former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin after six seasons. This has immediately put the team on the market to locate a possible replacement for Martin through free agency.

There are several intriguing options that are available for the Buccaneers to pursue to bolster their running game next season, which ranked 27th in the league in the 2017 campaign. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Tampa Bay reportedly has some interest in potentially signing former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon.

He is coming off his productive campaign where he recorded a career-high 570 rushing yards with three touchdowns while posting career bests with 51 catches for 421 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Although he has yet to take on the role as the full-time starter, the 25-year-old has shown plenty of ability to be a dual-threat factor as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield. He has also versatility as an effective kickoff returning taking back 12-for-312 yards this past season.

McKinnon has much to offer and could be an effective option for a team looking to add a versatile running back to the mix. He could step in for the Buccaneers to compete for the starting job alongside Peyton Barber, who is coming off a promising rookie campaign where posted 374 rushing yards over the final five games, including 104 yards against the Green Bay Packers.

This could provide much-needed balance to the offense that has struggled to break through in the first two years under head coach Dirk Koetter. The addition of another offensive weapon alongside Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard could help quarterback Jameis Winston finally break through.

Nonetheless, McKinnon could be a highly sought out player in free agency with several teams looking to improve their running game. It is certainly something to keep an eye on over the next few days as things will pick up around the league.