Losing Chris Godwin would hurt the Buccaneers immensely, but plans need to be made for a replacement if he leaves.
Chris Godwin has been one of the best draft picks by the Buccaneers in recent years. As an All-Pro and a reliable part of a Super Bowl champion offense, Godwin’s services for the Buccaneers are difficult to put into words.
Unfortunately, Godwin’s pending free agency looms large ahead of the Bucs this offseason, as the star wideout is about to earn a massive payday. Tampa Bay would love to be the team to pay Godwin and keep him in their offense, but his price tag, even with the franchise tag, could prove far too much for the Bucs to meet.
The Buccaneers only have a little over 20 million dollars in cap space for the time being, and they need to sign Shaquil Barrett first, a signing that could soak up most of that remaining space.
If Barrett makes 16-17 million, which is fair, the Buccaneers will still have to restructure contracts to sign their rookie class and depth free agents, so Godwin staying seems like a bleak prospect. While it would be great to keep one of the best offensive players on the roster, it may be time for the Bucs to plan for the possibility that they may be at least one All-Pro receiver short in 2021.
Keep in mind, Tampa Bay already has Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson with the potential for Antonio Brown on the roster, who should all see increased reps in Godwin’s absence. However, it will still be in the Bucs’ best interest to bring in another top-tier player from the free-agent market, the draft, or a trade.
If the Buccaneers are moving on from one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, it only makes sense to sign the one that Brady is the most familiar with. Edelman has a fraction of the ceiling as Godwin at this point in their careers, but the chemistry with Brady does help.
In addition to his prior time playing with the current Buccaneer quarterback, Edelman would also be much cheaper than Godwin. The Bucs would have to make a trade for the veteran wide receiver, but Tampa Bay could escape with giving up a day two or three pick to bring in another option for Brady on a cheaper contract than they are looking at with Godwin.
No, Scotty Miller does not play in the slot, and while the Buccaneers could use Tyler Johnson in this role, a proven veteran option seems like the safer choice in a Super Bowl year.