That’s what Godwin shared with Bucs fans on Instagram on Monday, Dec. 20, as he begins the road to recovery, which could last beyond the start of next year’s training camp. Godwin tore his ACL in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to New Orleans. It cut short a career year where he caught 98 passes for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive,” Godwin wrote. “You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
“Grateful for everyone who has reached out,” Godwin added. “We get to choose our response to adversity. Here’s to gratitude and to the little victories to come. See y’all soon, Much Love.”
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Godwin Not Alone in Season-Ending Injuries
Tampa Bay also lost defensive lineman Pat O’Connor to a season-ending injury on Sunday.
He “tore his PCL and partial MCL” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. O’Connor played a big role on special teams and filled in on the defensive line when needed.
O’Connor shared his thoughts via Instagram on Monday, too.
“Minor setback for a major comeback,” O’Connor wrote.
Godwin’s Last Game in Tampa Bay?
Godwin’s ACL tear may have marked his final game in a Bucs’ uniform.
He played on the franchise tag this season and will become a free agent in the offseason. Pro Football Focus ranked him third among likely free agents for 2022. An ACL tear doesn’t end Godwin’s hopes of a big contract either, as Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer noted.
“We’re at the point with ACL surgeries now where it’s not a total killer for a looming free agent,” Breer wrote. “Last year, Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree landed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Titans coming off a torn ACL. And in 2018, then Jaguar Allen Robinson was still rehabbing from his own ACL reconstruction surgery when the Bears gave him a three-year, $42 million deal. So the smart money says Godwin will be fine.”
Godwin and the Bucs couldn’t reach a deal last offseason, which led to the franchise tag — a one-year deal to keep a key player in house on a large salary. The Bucs re-signed its last franchise tag player, linebacker Shaquil Barrett after the 2020 season.
Tampa Bay re-signed Barrett to a four-year, $72 million deal amid re-signing more than 20 free agents. The Bucs will face a similar situation this offseason with 27 according to Sport Trac. The franchise has $32.333 million of salary-cap space to work with for 2022 per Sport Trac. Godwin could command a significant chunk of that salary cap space.
“That said, this is probably it for Godwin in Tampa, since he’ll be looking for the kind of life-changing haul every young player does in his second contract,” Breer wrote. “What’ll be interesting is seeing how the Bucs will replace him in 2022—and whether Brady will take the avenue of trying to recruit another friend, Odell Beckham Jr., to the Bucs to go ring chasing with him.”