In a move that would have been shocking two days ago, the Bucs are placing the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This will be the second-straight year that Tampa Bay has used the designation on Godwin, as the team was determined to keep him off the market. Godwin’s price tag for the 2022 season will now be $19.2 million.
That $19.2 million tag is far more than the Bucs would like to pay Godwin on a per year basis. Especially considering the receiver’s free agent price tag was likely in the $17 million range. Now the Bucs will attempt to reach a long term deal with Godwin as soon as possible. Until that day comes, the tag will act as a placeholder to keep other teams from making offers. The Bucs have until July 15 to reach a new deal with Godwin. But they’ll need salary cap relief from a long term deal much sooner than that.
Bucs CB Carlton Davis III – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
It’s frustrating that things reached this point in Tampa Bay. There is no excuse for the team’s failure to get a long term deal done with Godwin. There has been ample time to work toward an extension for the young receiver, yet the two sides remain divided. Godwin isn’t commanding top-tier money like Davante Adams, who could re-set the market. Coming off a torn ACL, he should be happy to land in the 16-17 million range. And the Bucs should be happy to land him there.
Instead, the indecisiveness of both sides may cost the Bucs dearly. Tampa Bay could and should have used the franchise tag on Carlton Davis, keeping him from hitting the market. Instead, they’ll now risk losing their best cornerback. Outside of Davis, the Bucs don’t have a sure thing at cornerback. And the Auburn product could command a hefty pay day in free agency.
So the good news is the Bucs will get Godwin back for 2022 and beyond (eventually). But at what cost?