Jacob Martin focused on season, not free agency: ‘Worry about football’

Jacob Martin is fixated on chasing quarterbacks, not a bag of money.

At least at the moment, and that laser focus could pay dividends financially for the Texans starting defensive end in a few months when he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. In the final month of his rookie contract, the former Seattle Seahawks sixth-round draft pick from Temple is playing for a $920,000 base salary this year.

The Katy native’s compensation could be much higher next year, with the Texans perhaps or with another NFL team, on a potential multi-year deal, as he looks to finish out the year strong heading into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

“I’m worried about Jacksonville, I’m worried about their two tackles and their tight ends this week,” said Martin, who’s represented by Kevin Robinson of Shark Sports. “If I take care of football, everything else will take care of itself. You can’t worry about contract extensions or hitting free agency, or nothing like that. The better football you play, the better you’ll enjoy your free agency. So, worry about the football.

“I’ve kind of just been focusing on football. I told them at the beginning of the year that I’m here to just focus on football, and everything else will take care of everything else when it’s time.”

In his first year as a full-time starter, the former Temple standout has a career-high four sacks and five tackles for losses to go with six quarterback hits and two forced fumbles.

“For me, it’s a stepping stone,” Martin said. “This is just the beginning. I’ve been talking about this and my abilities for quite some time. This is my first opportunity being at a starting position, a starting role. I think this is just a stepping stone. There’s so much more I’m capable of and so much more I can show and do. So, I think it’s a great building block.”

In four NFL seasons, Martin has 13 ½ career sacks, 24 quarterback hits, 13 tackles for losses and six forced fumbles.

“I just love the game, there’s no other reason for it,” Martin said. “I love to play. I’m very competitive, highly competitive. Probably the most competitive person you’ll ever meet. Whatever role that my coach, my team gives me, my GM drafts me for, whatever it is, I’m going to embody that role. You’ve got to just be hungry.”

 Martin also has one safety, recorded against elusive Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

Bigger and stronger, especially in his lower body, Martin has made strides as an all-around pass rusher and run-stopper as he’s now a full-time defensive end in defensive coordinator Lovie Smith’s 4-3 scheme after playing outside linebacker previously in a 3-4 alignment that included pass coverage responsibilities that weren’t his forte.

He takes nothing for granted.

“No, because this is the most volatile job market in the world,” Martin said. “If you ever think you’re safe, you’re sorely wrong in this profession. Worrying about where I’m going to be at next year, I can worry about that next year. Like I said, we’ve got four games left of this season. I’m going to take it week by week focusing on those opponents and focusing on how I can get my game better week to week.”

Martin has one of the fastest get-off moves in the leagues, according to teammates' opinions and metrics tracking NFL players.

Martin ranked third in the NFL for the fastest get-off among all defensive players after the first game of the season with an average time of 0.69 seconds. That ranked Martin only behind the Los Angeles Chargers' Joey Bosa's 0.51 seconds and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Alex Highsmith's 0.65 seconds.

Martin has upgraded his pass rushing techniques and strategy.

Martin is in a healthy competition with defensive end Jon Greenard and other teammates on the defensive line. Greenard leads the Texans with a career-high eight sacks, but Martin has complemented his power game and growing repertoire of moves with his own brand of quickness and finishing power.

“For sure, for sure, it’s always been a race to the quarterback,” Martin said. “We understand that the room is very competitive, and it’s been competitive since day one when they put this room together. Every opportunity to go out there and rush, you’re trying to win. It’s an obvious race, especially when you have a guy like Jonathan Greenard on the other side causing havoc himself.”

Houston Texans v Arizona Cardinals

Photo: Getty Images

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