Chris Godwin Tagged By Buccaneers: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed the franchise tag on free-agent WR Chris Godwin. The franchise tag locks Godwin up on a one-year deal worth $16.4 million in fully guaranteed money.
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Buccaneers informed WR Chris Godwin he is being franchise tagged, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2021
Chris Godwin Tagged By Buccaneers
The reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers had quite a few options with the franchise tag including pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett and stud LB Lavonte David but ultimately exercised the tag on Godwin, one of Tom Brady’s stud wideouts. (The Bucs signed David to a two-year, $24 million deal a few hours later.)
Godwin is only 25 while just approaching his prime. And despite missing four games with various injuries — concussion, finger, hamstring — Godwin still managed to finish as the 35th best wide receiver at Pro Football Focus, posting a 65/840/7 stat line on 84 targets.
Although Godwin has scored 7+ touchdowns in each of his past three seasons, Godwin’s production fell off last season, managing 70 yards per game and 12.9 yards per catch, his lowest totals since 2018.
In 2019, Godwin flashed his true potential, hanging an 86/1333/9 line on the rest of the league on 126 targets, all career highs. Sure, Godwin followed that year up with regression, but Brady’s primary slot receiver not only dealt with injuries but the Buccaneers also played with a (+1.78) game script, seventh-best in the NFL.
Moreover, the Buccaneers added Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski to their already loaded arsenal of pass-catching weapons, which did not help Godwin statically but did propel the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl.
Godwin played a tremendous role in that championship, finishing as the 13th best wideout in yards per target (10.0), ninth-best in contested catch rate (70%), and fifth-best in quarterback rating when targeted (131.1).
If the Buccaneers can find a way to retain one of or both of Barrett and David defensively while bringing back Brown and Gronkowski, who are also impending free agents, the Buccaneers will be one of the favorites to win Super Bowl 56.
Buccaneers 2021 NFL Betting Outlook
If the 2021 free-agent wide receiver class wasn’t so loaded with players that include Allen Robinson and Kenny Golladay, Godwin would have been my No. 1-ranked free agent wideout. Robinson was No. 1. (Find my tracker and rankings here.)
The 25-year-old sure-handed weapon boasts speed; the versatility to line up all over the formation; and a 1300-plus-receiving-yard season under his belt. Chris Godwin leaving in free agency would have been catastrophic for the Buccaneers.
His 2020 impact wasn’t always shown on the stat sheet. He is also a terrific run blocker, playing on 313 run-blocking snaps, 21st most amongst wideouts with a 62.1 run-blocking grade. To put things in perspective, of the 20 receivers who played on more run-blocking snaps than Godwin, only 10 of them had a higher grade at PFF.
Buccaneers to win Super Bowl 56 (+650)
As I eluded to earlier, the Buccaneers took their first step to repeating as Super Bowl Champions by retaining Godwin. And although Barrett and David are primed to hit the open free-agent market, the team has already had discussions on new deals for their defensive mainstays, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Re-upping with Brown and Gronkowski should be easy for Tampa Bay as well. Gronk won’t play without Tom Brady and there might not be another NFL team willing to take on the responsibility of Brown. Since Brown left the Steelers, he’s been erratic off the field and in the locker room. However, Brady was able to manage him with his uncanny leadership traits.
The Buccaneers are in rare form. While normally, Suoer Bowl-winning teams are poached of talent, they roster Brady and Mike Evans. Both players are known to restructure their deals to open up spending money to keep their guys or replenish their losses.
As long as Brady is upright and they don’t take too big of a hit in free agency with personnel departures, the Buccaneers are my favorite to win Super Bowl 56, even though Vegas has them second behind Kansas City (+500).
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Buccaneers NFC South Winner (-140)
I don’t want to call this a lock, but … I am pretty close.
- The Panthers have talent, but they don’t think they have a quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater could be on the move sooner rather than later — hello Washington.
- The Falcons have a new head coach but question marks at running back, offensive line, and defense.
- The Saints are the Saints but with one big question: QUARTERBACK! Sure, Drew Brees has yet to announce his retirement, but if he does want to play in 2021, do they want him? I think it’s time to move on. And if the Saints do move on, will it be Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill or a player to be named later?
- Despite their talented roster, they don’t have the most important position in all of professional sports figured out. Oh, and speaking of that talented roster… the Saints are $48.9 million over the cap, worst in the NFL, and have already released Jared Cook — a huge part of their passing attack — and Josh Hill — one of the better blocking tight ends around. More to come.
I’m all-in on the Buccaneers to win the South and the Super bowl in 2021.