Big Receiver Signing Impacts Chris Godwin’s Future With Bucs, Insiders Say

Chris Godwin

Getty Chris Godwin getting the franchise tag again could get more expensive than anticipated.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t clear a hurdle in franchise-tagging wide receiver Chris Godwin again because the price of a long-term deal just became steeper.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams agreed to a three-year deal of $60 million on Tuesday, March 8, according to sources, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. Williams’ deal sets the bar higher for what a star receiver such as Godwin could command for a long-term deal.

“It might even take a little more than that to lock up Godwin,” Greg Auman of The Athletic wrote.

Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard concurred.

“Godwin wants a contract more in line with the money Williams is getting,” Ledyard wrote. “That’s well above the $16-17.5 million per year range that most projections had him landing in.”

Before the Bucs franchise-tagged Godwin again Tuesday, March 8, he had a market value of $18.1 million annually last week before the Williams signing according to Spot Trac. The salary cap website raised his market value to $20.7 million annually since the Williams signing. It gives Godwin a contract value of five years for $103.7 million per Spot Trac.

Williams’ deal, which “includes $40 million guaranteed and $28 million in year one” per Schefter, makes him the fifth-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL per Over the Cap. Godwin has the eighth-highest salary for receivers per Over the Cap.

Williams notably came into the NFL the same year as Godwin — 2017 — and produced similar numbers on the field. Williams has 227 receptions for 3,662 yards and 26 touchdowns in 72 career games. Godwin has 342 catches for 4,643 yards and 29 touchdowns in 72 career games.

Tagging a Costly Move for Bucs

Godwin’s franchise tag pays him $19.18 million for 2022, which counts against the salary cap per Over the Cap. The Bucs could still work out a long-term deal with Godwin but have a July 15 deadline for that.

Auman noted that it behooves the Bucs to get a deal done sooner than later to make better use of salary cap space. It could potentially save the Bucs $13.2 million in cap space to have a cap-friendly deal done instead of the franchise tag, Auman wrote.

The Bucs have more than 20 free agents to start re-signing next week when the new league year begins.

Godwin’s Injury Status a Factor

Godwin’s health remains a question since he tore his ACL and MCL in December 2021. He had surgery on Jan. 3 per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Doctor Jesse Morse of the Fantasy Doctors projects that Godwin “should be ready for Week 1” of the season. Auman noted that there isn’t “a firm timetable” on Godwin’s return.

Ledyard believes Godwin’s injury affects his payday, and Leyard added the Bucs may have leverage with Godwin not wanting the franchise tag a second-straight year. Auman wrote that the Bucs meanwhile “are taking on all the initial injury risk” with Godwin on the franchise tag.

With that said, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht both expressed confidence about Godwin’s recovery during the NFL Combine last week.

“The Bucs are confident Godwin can return to his old self or they wouldn’t be tagging him in the first place,” Auman wrote.

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