Chris Godwin Rumors: 'Things Are Headed' Toward Bucs Using Franchise Tag on WR

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) in action during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Washington Football Team, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

Chris Godwin is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but Jenna Laine of ESPN reported the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have no intention of letting him leave.

Though the plan is to sign the receiver to a long-term deal, Laine reported "things are headed" toward the team using the franchise tag.

Godwin has indicated he would accept the tag, which would pay him about $16.5 million in 2021.

The salary would represent a significant jump after Godwin earned about $4.6 million in his first four years combined.

The 25-year-old is coming off an up-and-down season in which he finished second on the team with 65 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. He was slowed by multiple injuries in 2020 but was also vital to the squad's run to a Super Bowl title.

Godwin had five catches for 110 yards in the NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers, also scoring a touchdown in the first-round victory over the Washington Football Team.

He can be one of the best in the NFL at his position, finishing 2019 with 86 catches for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games. He ranked second in the league in receiving yards per game behind only Michael Thomas.

Keeping the dynamic player opposite Mike Evans should ensure the Buccaneers once again have one of the top passing attacks in the NFL. Tom Brady helped the team finish second in the league in passing yards and touchdowns in 2020.

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The downside is Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski—two of Brady's favorite targets—are also impending free agents. A high cap number for Godwin could prevent the Buccaneers from re-signing one or both of those veterans.