Tom Brady had one of the best seasons of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, and the great receivers he had around him had a lot to do with it. Among those great weapons was Chris Godwin, who had earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2019 with the Bucs before Brady even joined the team.
However, while Godwin has proven to be an elite receiver, his future with the Buccaneers is unclear. His recent comments, though, might be hinting at his upcoming $15.9 million season being a step toward something bigger.
Chris Godwin will play on the franchise tag with the Bucs in 2021
Throughout his career so far, Godwin had just been playing on his rookie deal. After going to the Buccaneers in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft, Godwin gained 525 receiving yards in 2017 before catching 59 passes for 842 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018.
In 2019, though, Godwin had a breakout year for Tampa and proved to be one of the best receivers in the NFL. He ultimately caught 86 passes for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games. His play, along with the always stellar play of Mike Evans, led to Tom Brady deciding to join the Bucs in free agency that next offseason.
Tampa Bay then had an excellent season in 2020, as the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and ended up winning the Super Bowl. Godwin caught 65 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns in only 12 games throughout the year, and had 16 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown during the playoffs.
His play was, obviously, strong enough for him to get paid, as his rookie deal was just worth $3.28 million over four years. However, in March, the former Penn State pass-catcher received the franchise tag from the Buccaneers. He is essentially on a one-year, $15.98 million deal.
He said he has mutual interest with the Buccaneers
While his future with the Buccaneers is unclear, Godwin recently made some comments that should make Tampa Bay fans feel a little better.
“I think the good thing is there’s mutual interest on both sides …. one of the things I’m happiest about is I’m able to be here this year … I get to be here and try to go back with my guys,” he said, per ProFootballTalk.
The fact that there is mutual interest sounds promising for him and the Buccaneers. This essentially says that Godwin isn’t a player who wants to move on and sign with a team where he can be the No. 1 option, and that the Buccaneers are potentially willing to spend the money on him.
However, his comments also prove that this upcoming year could lead to a massive payday for Godwin.
Chris Godwin could be in for a massive payday with the Bucs
Godwin’s comments about his mutual interest with the Buccaneers could actually be a sign toward his huge potential pay raise. This $15.98 million season is essentially just a step toward something bigger.
If Godwin can continue to prove on the franchise tag in 2021 that he is one of the top receivers in the NFL, the Buccaneers will then most likely pay him like one of those top receivers.
During Godwin’s breakout year in 2019, he gained the third-most receiving yards in the league, only behind Michael Thomas and Julio Jones. He even had more than DeAndre Hopkins and Amari Cooper.
Hopkins is currently making an average of $27.25 million per year, while Jones is earning an average of $22 million. Cooper, on the other hand, is earning $20 million per year, while Thomas is right behind him with $19.25 million.
Godwin most likely won’t earn that type of money as Hopkins, Jones, and Thomas are three of the best receivers in the league. However, Spotrac estimates that his market value is worth a four-year, $68.6 million deal, or $17.1 million per year.
That’s a big jump from his rookie contract.
So, can the Buccaneers afford it? Tampa has about $23.4 million in cap space in 2022, $102.8 million in 2023, and then not many players on the books for the following years. They should be able to figure something out for him. With all the talent he has, it’s hard to imagine them not being able to figure something out. Additionally, with his franchise tag value only increasing in future years, we can probably expect this deal to come sooner rather than later.
Godwin has a chance to play for a big paycheck during this upcoming franchise tag year. Given his and the Buccaneers’ mutual interest, a big 2021 could lead to a massive payday for the star pass-catcher.