Many were surprised when the Bucs signed wide receiver Russell Gage to a 3-year contract last week. The Bucs already had to premier wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, yet still tabbed Gage at $10 million per year. Of course, Tampa Bay knows how important that No. 3 wide receiver role is in their offense. Still, some believed Gage would land back in Atlanta as their top receiver.
Since then, it’s become clear why Tampa Bay signed the receiver away from their division rival. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady loves Gage’s game, even calling the receiver on the opening evening of free agency to recruit him. However, the opinions of wide receivers Evans and Godwin also carry significant weight. Speaking to the media on Monday, Godwin revealed that he and Evans have been admirers of Gage’s game for years.
“As soon as we signed him, I told Mariah (Godwin’s wife), ‘That’s a great signing. That’s a great pick-up,'” Godwin said. “I feel like the last couple of years, anytime we play them, me and Mike will be on the sidelines talking, ‘Yo, I feel like Russell Gage is nice. I feel like he’s not getting the love that he should.’ He runs good routes, he’s a tough player. You know he’s going to give you effort. So I’m thrilled to have him aboard. I think he’s going to be a huge addition for us. I think people kind of sleep on him. But I think he’ll fit right in with the group.”
Gage has been a 700-yard receiver each of the past two years, playing his biggest role last season. He’s known for sharp routes and sure hands, but hasn’t had many opportunities to show his 4.4 speed in Atlanta’s quick passing attack. He’ll immediately slot in as the No. 3 receiver in a Tampa Bay offense that desperately needs one.