According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bucs have reportedly placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin, a move that will pay the fifth-year pass-catcher between $15.8 and $16.4 million for the 2021 season.
Buccaneers informed WR Chris Godwin he is being franchise tagged, per source.
Drafted in the third round out of Penn State in 2017, Godwin racked up 849 yards and seven touchdowns on 59 receptions in his sophomore campaign before breaking out in 2019. With Jameis Winston at quarterback, Godwin exploded for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns on 86 receptions, despite missing the season’s final two contests with a hamstring injury. Godwin was voted to his first career Pro Bowl appearance and named a second team All-Pro following the 2019 season.
In 2020 Godwin remained a consistent offensive weapon for the Bucs, notching 840 receiving yards and another seven touchdowns in the regular season despite missing four games due to various injuries. Godwin added 16 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs, but did struggle with drops for the first time in his career, letting seven passes bounce off his hands in four postseason games. Still, Godwin’s five catches for 110 yards paced the Bucs in the NFC Championship Game, including a juggling 52-yard catch to set up a touchdown in the first half.
The Bucs will now have several months to work toward a long term deal with Godwin, as the deadline is set for July 15 at 4 pm EST. Godwin has already said he’d love to be back in Tampa Bay long term, and that he will play on the tag this season if necessary, so no holdout should be expected. It will be difficult for the Bucs to tie up a lot of big money at the wide receiver position with Mike Evans already on the books for between $16.6-$18.8 million a year for the next three years, but keeping Godwin around for at least 2021 was always a no-brainer.
Godwin’s signing means the Bucs entire starting offense from their Super Bowl championship season inches one big step closer to returning in 2021. Free agent tight end Rob Gronkowski is likely to return, while wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Leonard Fournette remain question marks. Even if those two big names move on, the Bucs should feature one of the most talented offenses in the NFL again in 2021, with Godwin acting as a headliner name for the unit.