Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin signed his franchise tag tender on Friday morning, nine days after the team gave him that designation for 2021. By doing so, Godwin guaranteed that he would be playing for the Buccaneers this season but did not shut the door on a deal that extends beyond 2021.
Facing a long list of potential free agents following their win in Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers made Godwin a top priority by using their one available franchise tag on him. Godwin finished second on the team in receiving yards during the 2020 regular season and then led the team in that category during the playoffs. He also led the team with 1,333 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2019 and finished second in the NFL in yards per game, but Head Coach Bruce Arians has made it clear that Godwin's value to the Bucs' offense goes well beyond his stat line.
Godwin also just turned 25, and only a string of unrelated injuries in the first half of the 2020 season kept his numbers from continuing to ascend each season. With Mike Evans already under contract through 2023, the Buccaneers would surely like to keep their Pro Bowl wide receiver tandem together for as long as possible. Godwin and the Buccaneers can continue to work toward a multi-year contract through July 15 if they so desire. After that deadline, franchise tagged players can only play on the tag's one-year contract.
Even if the Bucs and Godwin do not come together on deal by mid-July, the two could work on another contract after the 2021 season. That's what happened with outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who received Tampa Bay's franchise tag last year. Though motivated to come to a long-term commitment, team and player failed to do so by the deadline and Barrett played the 2020 season on his tender. He then signed a multi-year contract on Wednesday to skip free agency and remain with the Buccaneers.
A third-round pick out of Penn State in 2017, Godwin has played in 58 games with 33 starts and recorded 244 catches for 3,540 yards (14.5-yard avg.) and 24 touchdowns. In the Buccaneers' playoff run to the title, he caught 16 passes for 232 yards and a score.