Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has served his one-game suspension and will return to active status this week. As such the team had to make room for Evans on the 53-man roster, and they did so Monday by waiving wide receiver Freddie Martino. Martino had been promoted from the practice squad last week specifically to take Evans' spot in the Buccaneers' five-man receiving corps.
Martino made the most of his short time on the active roster, turning in a pair of tackles on special teams, one of which dropped New York Jets return man JoJo Natson at the 18-yard line on the opening kickoff. The play also drew a holding call on the New York blocker trying to stop Martino, putting the Jets at their own nine-yard line to start the game. Martino later tackled Natson on another kickoff return at the New York 14-yard line.
Martino will be eligible to return to the Buccaneers' practice squad if he clears waivers. He has been on either the practice squad or the active roster in every week of the past two seasons.
A behind-the-scenes look at the Buccaneers' Week 10 matchup with the Jets.
The second-year receiver also saw 13 snaps on offense and was targeted on one pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, the receiver who saw the largest increase in playing time in the absence of Evans was rookie Chris Godwin. Godwin started in Evans' place opposite DeSean Jackson and tied Jackson for the team lead in targets with 10. That total as well as his five receptions and 68 yards were all career highs for the 2017 third-round pick out of Penn State.
On Monday, Head Coach Dirk Koetter revealed that Godwin was given the offensive game ball after the Bucs' 15-10 win over the Jets. Godwin finished his big day with the last important play of the game, cleanly fielding New York's onside kick attempt. With Evans' return, Godwin likely won't play 97% of the offensive snaps again, as he did against the Jets, but he remains a very attractive option for Koetter and the offense.
"There's only so many roles, that's the thing," said Koetter. "You're going to have a number-one, a number-two, a number-three and a number-four. That's just how it is. Now, as we've said in here multiple times, you can't have too many good players. Chris's main issue to date has just been that he hasn't had opportunities because he's behind those other guys.
"The way you saw Chris play on offense is really the same way he's been attacking special teams up until yesterday. It wasn't just plug him in for Mike; Chris did a lot of dirty work yesterday, and Mike does some of that, too. We had him and DeSean switching back and forth on a lot of stuff. Couldn't be happier with Chris's effort and his finish."