Chris Godwin Franchise-Tagged by Buccaneers After Super Bowl Victory

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) runs with the football after a reception against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Jason Behnken/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

This will keep the Penn State product in Tampa Bay through the 2021 season after he was previously set for unrestricted free agency on his last contract that paid him $2.1 million in base salary in 2020.

Adam Schefter of ESPN noted in the wake of the move that linebackers Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David are now scheduled to be free agents and that Tampa Bay has "discussed deals with both players."

It seemed like a matter of time before the Buccaneers kept Godwin one way or another considering general manager Jason Licht told season pass holders in an April 2020 audio call he planned on making the wide receiver "a Buccaneer for life," per the Tampa Bay Times:

"First of all, we love Chris. Everybody and anybody in the organization can tell you that Chris is a huge piece of this team and Chris is an impact player at the position. I've personally told Chris we want him to be here long-term and be a Buccaneer for life.

"In terms of when that happens? I can't tell you right now when those talks will officially begin. But I do know that he is in our plans for the long-term."

Tampa Bay selected Godwin with a third-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and he was a solid contributor as a rookie with 525 receiving yards and a touchdown.

He started making his mark in his second season with 842 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, but the 2019 campaign was his breakout effort. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time and tallied 86 catches for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing the final two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Godwin provided then-quarterback Jameis Winston with another reliable target outside of Mike Evans, and the dynamic duo of pass-catchers will have more time to develop together considering the latter signed a five-year, $82.5 million extension in 2018.

Pairing the Penn State product and Evans with future Hall of Famers in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV in the 2020 campaign, with the former finishing the regular season with 65 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns.

The 6'1", 209-pound Philadelphia native should be a key piece of the Buccaneers for seasons to come following this deal, and the team is in win-now mode with an eye on another potential Super Bowl run.