The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are focused on the Super Bowl but face a crucial offseason with a number of key free agents including receiver Chris Godwin. The wideout will be joined in free agency by a number of other Bucs stars including Shaq Barrett, Antonio Brown, Lavonte David, Leonard Fournette and Rob Gronkowski. It is part of the reason ESPN’s Bill Barnwell predicts that Godwin will sign with another team as the Bucs have to pick and choose who they re-sign given the NFL salary cap.
“The Bucs have some tough decisions to make with their roster this offseason, given that Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Godwin are all free agents,” Barnwell explained. “They can’t retain all of them, and they’re likely to get below-market prices on Brown (and Gronkowski). There’s another slot receiver Tampa could go after on the cheap, but we’ll get to him later.”
Barnwell Predicts Godwin Will Sign With the Patriots
Few teams need a star wide receiver like the Patriots as Barnwell projects Godwin will head to Tom Brady’s old franchise. Barnwell predicts the Patriots will sign Godwin to a four-year, $78 million deal.
“My guess is that Godwin’s versatility appeals to another team that lost two big-name contributors to the Buccaneers last offseason,” Barnwell continued. “The Patriots sorely need weapons at receiver, and Godwin profiles as the sort of player who could continue to flourish with a larger target share. He also doesn’t turn 25 until next month, which might make him more desirable to the Pats than Robinson or Golladay.”
Godwin on Free Agency: ‘We’ll See How It Plays Out’
Just before the playoffs started, Godwin emphasized that he wants to be back with the Buccaneers next season. The wide receiver did leave the door open for other possibilities noting “we’ll see how it plays out.”
“We got a lot of football left…I definitely want to be here,” Godwin said on December 22, 2020, via Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud. “There’s interest on both sides and we’ll see how it plays out.”
The Bucs Can Use the Franchise Tag to Keep Godwin on the Roster for 2021
The counter-argument to Barnwell’s prediction is the Buccaneers have the option to use the franchise tag on Godwin to keep him in Tampa for 2021. SB Nation detailed how the franchise tag works for NFL teams.
The franchise tag is essentially a one-year contract that guarantees a predetermined salary for players. The salary amount is set by the averaging the top five salaries by position for the previous league year, or if it’s higher, 120 percent of a player’s salary the previous season. So players like quarterbacks and defensive ends will have a much higher tag salary than positions like kicker or punter.
Over the Cap projects that the franchise tag for a wide receiver like Godwin will be a little more than $16 million. The Bucs will have to choose wisely as the team can only use the tag sparingly. The more ideal scenario would be for the Bucs to reach a long-term agreement with Godwin who has been one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets this season.
Godwin finished this season with 65 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns making him one of the top free-agent receivers this offseason. The Bucs will have plenty of competition for Godwin whether it be from the Patriots or other NFL teams looking for a potential WR1. Either way, Godwin will be getting a major raise from his current four-year, $3.2 million deal.