4. Can the Buccaneers pay two top-tier wide receivers?
Tampa Bay has to pay Barrett whatever he wants to keep him on the roster. Pass-rusher is one of the most important positions in the NFL, and it is extremely hard to replicate elite level at the position, so the Bucs have no choice but to overpay Barrett. Wide receiver is a different story.
Paying one receiver top-tier money is justifiable, but paying two becomes extremely difficult. The Buccaneer offense would immediately hurt with the loss of Chris Godwin, but at the end of the day, Godwin would be easier to replace than Barrett.
In his short time with the Buccaneers, Godwin has been an All-Pro, a Pro Bowler, and a Super Bowl champion. As one of the best receivers in the NFL, the Buccaneers could have no choice but to pay Godwin, but restricted cap space would only make this move hurt even worse.
Tampa Bay will have to make extremely difficult decisions this offseason to keep the Super Bowl hopes alive, and the possibility increases that when pressed up against the cap, the Bucs have no choice but to let Godwin walk to a much-deserved massive contract and replace him with a cheap rookie.
Fans would riot. Tears would be shed. Godwin would be one of the easiest players on the roster right now to sign to a lifetime contract in a world without cap space. The Buccaneers would absolutely miss Godwin if they let him walk, but his position makes it hard to justify a huge payday when money is so tight.
If Mike Evans takes a pay cut and the Bucs move on from Donovan Smith for a rookie, they could keep enough money to give Godwin, but there are a lot of moving pieces in play. Here’s to hoping that Tampa Bay can find a way to make it work.