Doug Martin has learned true love has its limitations.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back has been showered with love. It's coming from the owners, the head coach and the quarterback: "Doug we love you. We want you!"
The 27 year-old, who finished second in rushing in the NFL last year, has a simple answer: "Show me the money."
Unfortunately things are never that easy over at One Buc Place, where love affairs come and go so often Dear Abby could set up shop.
Among the reasons the Bucs fired former head coach Lovie Smith was that they didn't want to lose offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who they considered the lifeline for quarterback Jameis Winston.
Money was not an issue as Smith joined an endless list of former coaches who still find a place on the Bucs' payroll.
Now Koetter is head coach, but the franchise faces a similar scenario.
The future of Bucs running back Doug Martin could have a significant impact in Winston's second season.
The money the Bucs are paying Lovie Smith not to coach makes the haggling over Martin's contract desires seem trivial.
Koetter has publicly called out for Bucs general manager Jason Licht to bring Martin back. Licht says he loves Doug, but won't show him where it matters the most.
Martin had a significant impact on Winston's rookie-season success. More than anyone else on the field, he took the pressure off the quarterback and made his life a lot easier.
The argument against giving the "Muscle Hamster" close to what he wants is that he has had two good seasons in his four years, and running backs are a dime a dozen.
So when teams are allowed to start signing free agents and their own on Wednesday Martin could walk.
Going going gone. Goodbye Doug.
NFL owners are always looking for a way to cut costs, and right now their biggest reason for keeping money tight on running backs is DeMarco Murray.
After his stellar season with Dallas in 2014, Murray signed a five-year, $40 million deal with Philadelphia that included $5 million signing bonus and $21 million guaranteed. He was a bust, but maybe that was because of the Chip Kelly effect.
Adrian Peterson earned $14 million last year, but Martin is not asking for Superman money. He would like to keep things above $8 million per year on a multiyear deal, according to reports. The Bucs seem to have a ceiling well below that.
The argument goes that the Dallas offensive line made Murray in 2014, and
you could plug any decent running back into the Cowboys' lineup and see similar results.
Martin led the NFL in yards after contact and was second in rushing yards last season behind only Peterson. The argument that the Bucs can just plug in Charles Sims doesn't hold up.
Running against base defenses compared to the nickel and dime defenses with all those defensive backs on the field is the best indicator of how a running back fared. And in those cases Martin excelled.
Among Martin's 288 carries last season, 78 percent came when the defense had fewer than five defensive backs on the field, which was the fourth highest in the league. Among backs with at least 150 carries, Martin was first in that category.
Martin earned $2.2 million in 2015, when he ran for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns. In four years, he has had two good seasons. His second and third years were disappointments, but he was plagued by injuries, struggling quarterbacks and a suspect offensive line.
This is most likely Martin's only chance to earn a big payday, and you can't blame him for getting what he can.
If he leaves and Winston struggles, this will be another move the Bucs' hierarchy will have to explain to a frustrated fan base.
The Bucs had a chance to franchise tag Martin at $11.789 million and chose not to do so. If he can keep Winston upright and healthy, it might not have been a bad deal for one year.
To the Bucs' owners, Martin might not be worth what he wants, especially in what is now a passing league, but his value to Winston is where all these numbers should begin and end.
The Bucs are among the top five, six or seven teams with the most salary cap space with about $50 million. Martin is not asking to break the bank so why haggle, especially with Winston's health on the line.
Alan Dell, Herald sports columnist/writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.