Bucs Urged to Trade $60 Million Playmaker

Tom Brady

Getty The Buccaneers offense could look vastly different beyond Tom Brady in 2023.

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing a multitude of uncertainties, the franchise faces some tough and possibly surprising decisions in the coming weeks.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell suggests that the Bucs trade star wide receiver Chris Godwin amid the team’s $55.5 million over the salary cap. Godwin has two years left on a three-year, $60 million deal with the Bucs.

“Parting ways with the 27-year-old would free up nearly $9 million in cap room and take a significant earner off the payroll in 2023 and 2024,” Barnwell wrote. “Godwin wasn’t as effective after returning from a torn ACL last season, and while he should still be in the prime of his career, Tampa should be able to get by with [Mike] Evans — who would likely end up getting a new deal out of the equation — and Russell Gage at wideout.”

Godwin averaged a career-low 9.8 yards per reception in 2022. He also tallied his lowest touchdown total, three, since his rookie year in 2017.

Evans, 29, enters the final year of his contract, and the Bucs couldn’t gain much from trading him — just $2.3 million in cap space before June 1 as Barnwell noted. Evans has nine-consecutive 1,000-yard seasons as a longtime go-to receiver for the Bucs offense.

Gage, a 2022 free agent acquisition, didn’t wow last season amid his lingering hamstring injuries, but the Bucs could get him back healthy at full speed in 2023. Gage has a 4.42-second, 40-yard dash time.

Bucs Land Draft Picks With Godwin Trade

Amid cap-clearing and retooling from an 8-9 season in Tom Brady‘s final year, the Bucs could use more draft picks as Barnwell sees it in the Godwin trade.

“The deal would also net the Bucs some useful draft capital. I’m not sure they could expect to land a Tyreek Hill or Davante Adams-sized haul, but a late-first-round pick would hardly be out of the question,” Barnwell wrote.

“The [New York] Giants sit at No. 25 and don’t have a significant receiver on the roster for quarterback Daniel Jones,” Barnwell added. “Would trading for Godwin accelerate their offense? I wouldn’t advocate trading Godwin for pennies on the dollar, but [Jason] Licht should be willing to take calls on him.”

If the Bucs had the No. 25 and No. 19 picks, it would give the team options to either land more young talent or possibly trade up for a quarterback. CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson floated the idea of the Bucs trading up for a QB in a February 16 mock draft.

Godwin Reveals ‘Lonely Process’ in Rehab

Before Godwin returned to the field and caught 104 passes for 1,023 yards in 2022, he worked at rehabbing his torn ACL — mostly unseen by the media and public.

“It’s a very lonely process,” Godwin told the NFL Network during “Super Bowl Live” before the February 12 game. “You spend the majority of the rehab doing things by yourself. And you really try to find out who you are as a person.”

“What got me through [it] was attacking everything the same way I have with everything else in my life,” Godwin added. “One day at a time and focusing on the task at hand as opposed to [looking at] the whole duration of the recovery.”

“Once I got through that process and got cleared to play, for me, it was focused on, what is next,” Godwin concluded. “How do I get back to doing the things I know I can do?”

Godwin played in 15 games for the Bucs in 2022 and only missed two games because of a hamstring injury.

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