NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday the Bucs are likely to offer a long-term extension to Godwin or use the franchise tag to keep him around for the 2021 season.
The 24-year-old failed to keep up with his production from last season. He caught 65 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns after having finished third in receiving yards (1,333) in 2019.
Godwin's numbers were bound to go backward, though, since Tampa Bay added Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown to aid in its Super Bowl push. Gronkowski and Brown combined to log 1,106 receiving yards.
Godwin also missed four games because of a variety of injuries, including a fractured left index finger that required surgery. Through it all, his 70 receiving yards per game were highest on the team.
The Penn State alumnus is poised to not only be the best receiver on the open market but also one of the top players overall on the board this offseason. He firmly proved his 2019 breakout wasn't a mirage and that he can be a team's No. 1 option.
Tom Brady is signed through next year and doesn't seem to be considering retirement anytime soon. The Bucs can't afford to let Godwin walk away this offseason. And the franchise tag is the perfect contingency if negotiations over a multiyear contract break down.