Chris Godwin isn’t going anywhere. On Tuesday, the Buccaneers assigned the franchise tag to the standout wide receiver, yanking him from the open market.
Godwin will get a considerable pay raise, going from $4.65MM in the final year of his rookie contract to $16MM+. The tag is likely being deployed as a placeholder for a multi-year deal and will allow the two sides to negotiate between now and the middle of July. Players often bristle at the franchise tag, but Godwin is an exception.
“Yeah, I mean, the way I look at it, similar to like a lot of guys,” Godwin said to MJ Acosta of NFL.com (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Obviously, we all want to have long-term security; we all want to be able to take care of the people that we love. So that’s the ideal situation. But, you know, a franchise tag is not something that I can control. If that’s what keeps me here, then that’s what it is. And I’ll play on it and go back to war with my guys. Like I said, I love it here in in Tampa. I love what we have building, and I would love to stay.”
Godwin, a former third-round pick, broke out in 2019 with 86 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl nod. The stage was set for an even bigger year in 2020 — especially with Tom Brady on board — but he was also joined by a cavalcade of new stars, including Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. The 24-year-old ultimately finished with 65 catches for 840 yards and seven scores in 12 games. In four postseason contests, Godwin added another 16 grabs for 232 yards and one TD.
Godwin wasn’t the Buccaneers’ only candidate for the tag. Teams can only cuff one player per offseason, which means that edge rusher Shaq Barrett and inside linebacker Lavonte David are now scheduled to be free agents.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.