Where will the Buccaneers WR land?
By: Adam Hulse (Twitter: @adamhulsesports)
In a 2021 free-agent class that will be loaded with quality wide receivers such as Allen Robinson and Kenny Golladay, the best of the bunch just might be Chris Godwin.
He is a big-bodied receiver with great hands and good speed, giving him great versatility. He is equally as effective from the slot as he is lining up on the outside. Godwin is strong enough to make contested catches in traffic and fast enough to blow by defenders as well which is demonstrated by his career 14.5 yards per reception.
At only 24 years old, Godwin is a four year player out of Penn State University and has been a key contributor to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense for the past three seasons. After a decent rookie campaign where he accumulated 34 receptions for 525 yards and a touchdown, he really broke out in his second season and never looked back.
Over the past three seasons, Godwin is averaging 5 receptions for 72 yards per game with 23 touchdowns across 42 games played. This is an extremely productive output for anyone but even more impressive considering he plays in an offense that also includes another star wide receiver in Mike Evans.
The fact that the youngster has all of the tools needed to be a superstar and already has the stats to go with it, Chris Godwin is going to be a hot target this offseason. Let’s now take a look at five potential landing spots.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The most likely scenario is that the Bucs find a way to keep Godwin on the team. This can be achieved by either offering him a long-term contract or applying the franchise tag.
If they decide to offer him a contract, he would likely receive somewhere in the range of 20 million dollars per year over the next four to five years. The other option would be the franchise tag to guarantee to lock him up for one more season if they do not use the tag on either Shaq Barrett or Lavonte David.
Whatever route the Bucs take, I do expect them to do everything they can to keep Godwin on the team and continue their elite pairing of him with Mike Evans. The Bucs were the fourth-best passing offense in the league this past season and Godwin is one of the big reasons why. They have developed him into the stud he is today and hopes that the prime years of his career are spent in Tampa.
This is a team that is in desperate need of offensive weapons and Chris Godwin would be a perfect solution. With the exception of DeVante Parker, there is really nothing at the skill positions to threaten opposing defenses.
The Dolphins had a break-out season this past year and far exceeded most expectations by winning ten games and barely missing out on the playoffs despite having the 22nd ranked total offense. Their defense on the other hand was excellent. They ranked sixth in scoring defense and lead the league in takeaways so it would seem like improving the offensive side of the ball would be their primary focus this offseason.
Also with young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entering his sophomore season, it would be wise to get him some weapons to help his development. They do have the third overall pick in the upcoming draft that they can utilize for a weapon as well but because they need more than one, and because they have plenty of cap space, Godwin may be the perfect target for the Dolphins.
New England Patriots
Coming off their worst season in 20 years, the Patriots are another team in desperate need of offensive weapons and in particular, wide receivers. Their passing game this year was a disaster.
They ranked 30th in passing yards and were the worst in the league in passing touchdowns with only 12 total for the year. It was very obvious that quarterback Cam Newton and his inability to make plays in the passing game were a big part of that, but in his defense, he really didn’t have anyone of value to throw the ball to.
Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd being the top two options in the passing game are simply not good enough. They will most likely get Julian Edelman back next year but that still isn’t enough regardless of who the quarterback is.
If the Patriots plan on getting back to their winning ways in 2021 then they will need to improve their receiving core for this Josh McDaniels offensive scheme. They have one of the best salary cap situations in the NFL entering this offseason so signing a guy like Godwin is exactly what this team needs.
There are a few reasons why the Jags make a ton of sense as a suitor for a big-time wideout like Chris Godwin. They were the worst team in the NFL last year finishing with just one win and on a 15 game losing streak.
This is not too surprising for a team that fully committed to a rebuild and traded away most of their players with any value including Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Fournette. Being the worst team this past season actually comes with a pretty big reward and that is the ability to draft the generational talent at quarterback in Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson.
If that is the route the Jags take, which in all likelihood it will be, new head coach Urban Meyer and this organization will be eager to surround Lawrence with as much talent as possible to give him his best chance at success. Rookie running back James Robinson and rookie receiver Laviska Shenault seem to have promising futures ahead of them but they will need much more than that.
The Jags have the most cap space of any team in the league so they have plenty of options to compliment this new era of Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville. Adding a 24-year-old superstar wide receiver like Chris Godwin to grow with this young team would be an excellent start.
With Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of his legendary career, the Cardinals may be looking to add a new weapon in the passing game to pair with the elite DeAndre Hopkins in this Kyler Murray-led offense. Christian Kirk is a solid slot receiver but they could really use someone else to play on the outside.
That is where Chris Godwin would fit in. This offense leaned heavily on Hopkins last year who was targeted 160 times which is more than double the amount of anyone else on the team and the second-most in the entire NFL behind only Stefon Diggs.
While Hopkins is one of the absolute best in the league and is fully capable of handling this large load, adding someone like Godwin would benefit this offense in multiple ways. Not only would it give Kyler Murray another reliable option in the passing game, but it would also open up Hopkins more because opposing defenses would now have much more to account for.
The Cardinals were a middle-of-the-pack passing offense last season ranking 18th overall but adding this kind of weapon could potentially catapult them to one of the best in the league. If Kliff Kingsbury wants to take this offense to the next level and really see what Kyler Murray is capable of, then Chris Godwin might be the key to unlocking that.