Forget the franchise tag. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chris Godwin have a long-term deal in place.
On Monday, the Buccaneers announced the re-signing of Godwin to a new three-year contract. Despite missing the last three games of the regular season due to a knee injury, Godwin led the Buccaneers in 2021 with 98 catches for 1,103 yards, scoring six total touchdowns.
Prior to the start of free agency, the Buccaneers had placed the franchise tag on Godwin for the second year in a row. Godwin played the 2021 season on the tender offer that came with that initial tag, but this year the two sides were clearly motivated to get a multi-year deal done.
The Buccaneers placed the franchise tag on Godwin on March 8, just before the deadline to do so. At the time, quarterback Tom Brady was still ostensibly retired. However, Brady subsequently changed his mind and will be at the helm of the Bucs' offense again in 2022. The Buccaneers obviously wanted Godwin back regardless of who was under center, but Brady's return emphasizes the importance of keeping the team's skill-position group intact.
A third-round pick out of Penn State in 2017, Godwin has played in 72 games with 47 starts and has caught 342 passes for 4,643 yards and 29 touchdowns. Last year, he ranked third in the NFL in receptions per game (7.0) and seventh in receiving yards per game (77.8). In 2019, his 95.2 yards per game ranked second to Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints.
Godwin, who ranks as one of the NFL's most productive receivers out of the slot, is a critical part of the Buccaneers' passing attack. He is also one of the league's best blocking receivers; according to NFL Next Gen Stats the Buccaneers average 4.5 yards per carry when he's on the field and 3.7 yards per carry when he's on the sideline.
The Buccaneers made it clear how important Chris Godwin is to their offense with two consecutive franchise tags. A new three-year deal is the best evidence yet.