Bucs Could Find Replacements for $112 Million Receiver Duo in Draft

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the NFL’s elite pass-catching duos in veteran wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Evans and Godwin have been teammates since 2017 and have 11 combined 1,000-yard receiving seasons in that time — currently seven consecutive seasons for Evans and three consecutive seasons for Godwin. In NFL years, they’re also getting pretty long in the tooth.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times wrote in an April 23 column that the Buccaneers should begin looking for their replacements in the 2024 NFL draft, where Tampa Bay has the No. 26 overall pick in the first round.

Evans will turn 31 years old in August. Godwin turned 28 in February. Both players have been NFL All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections during their careers.

“Evans and Godwin would roll out the welcome mat for any of these (new) players,” Stroud wrote. “And sooner rather than later, the Bucs have to find their eventual replacements.”

Evans and Godwin: The $112 Wide Receiver Duo

Evans and Godwin have been worth every penny they’ve been paid in Tampa Bay, where they both have spent their entire careers. They both also have contracts that will be up within the next two years.

Evans signed a 2-year, $52 million contract in March 2024. Godwin is in the final year of a 3-year, $60 million contract he signed in 2022.

Tampa Bay’s base offense will likely change from two wide receivers and two tight ends to three wide receivers and one tight end in 2024 with new offensive coordinator Liam Coen.

There’s not much depth at wide receiver after Evans and Godwin. Running back Rachaad White was third on the team with 549 receiving yards and tight end Cade Otton was fourth with 455 receiving yards.

Breaking Down Buccaneers’ Best Draft Targets

The Buccaneers had Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman in for one of their Top 30 visits before the draft and is likely the best player at his position who could still be available toward the end of the first round.

With Godwin and Coleman going back and forth from the slot to outside and Evans as WR1, the Buccaneers could be almost unstoppable — and huge. Evans is 6-foot-5 and 223 pounds and Coleman is 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds. Godwin isn’t small at 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein’s pre-draft evaluation of Coleman almost sounds like he’s describing Evans in his younger days.

“Above-the-rim artist with circus catches resembling a scene from the tents of Cirque du Soleil,” Zierlein wrote. “Coleman has excellent size and ball skills. He’s not sudden and doesn’t have great speed, so beating press and creating breathing room against tight man coverages will depend on his ability to improve as a route-runner. The former star basketball player has a rebounder’s blend of extension and timing to give jump-ball defenders the blues. He’s big and strong with soft hands, but he can play with a little more aggression in claiming his deep-ball space and getting after it as a run blocker.

“Coleman might lack the athletic traits to be a well-rounded WR2. Instead, keep an eye on him as a big slot receiver who can be a red-zone specialist.”

Read More