Chris Godwin might be about to enjoy a career year under Liam Coen

A reminder that Mike Evans isn't the only talented receiver the Buccaneers have

Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but something being overlooked in all of the talk about Mike Evans potentially leaving is how much talent will still remain.

After eclipsing the 1,000 receiving-yard mark in the last three seasons, Chris Godwin is poised to enjoy a serious breakout season as the team's primary slot receiver in Liam Coen's new offensive scheme.

While Evans rightfully gains most of the attention and credit to the Buccaneers' strong passing game, Godwin has been a steady and reliable No. 2 receiver since his rookie season in 2017. During his seven-year career in Tampa Bay, Godwin has caught 529 passes for 6,690 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 12.6 yards per reception in 104 games (77 starts).

After only eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in one of his first seasons in the league, Godwin has notched 1,000 receiving yards in each of his last three seasons, including this season. Starting in all 17 games, Godwin posted 83 catches, 1,024 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and 12.3 yards per reception.

Last season, Godwin worked extremely well in former offensive coordinator Dave Canales' west-coast scheme, seeing very similar snap-counts and target share as Evans on the outside. With Canales leaving Tampa Bay to become Carolina's head coach, current offensive coordinator Liam Coen plans on using Godwin in a different way this season.

Chris Godwin could be in for a career year under Liam Coen

In his first press conference at the AdventHealth Training Center, Coen explained that he envisions Godwin taking a prominent role in the slot, playing the 'F' position similar to Rams' superstar wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

Before joining Tampa Bay, Coen served as Los Angeles' assistant wide receivers coach in 2019 when Kupp enjoyed his first breakout year with 94 catches, 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. With Godwin sharing high-quality route-running and elite run-after-catch skills, it makes sense for Godwin to play the same role that Kupp did under Coen years ago.

"Chris is a very physical player," said General Manager Jason Licht at the NFL Scouting Combine. "He's not afraid to work the middle. He's not intimidated and that's a that's a skill in itself. He's got fantastic hands. [He is] a very instinctive player. It's just [that] he can play both spots, but he just seems to excel inside, and you that saw at the end of the year."

During his productive three-year stretch from 2020-2022, Godwin played 51%, 53% and 60% of his snaps in the slot. 2022. Collectively, Godwin ranked fifth in the NFL with 6.5 receptions per game and ninth with 72.3 receiving yards per game. Under Canales, Godwin only played 32% of his snaps in the slot, spending much more time on the outside with Evans.

With Coen running the offense this year, the hope is that Godwin will return to working in the slot and truly thriving across the middle of the field as in years past. Even with the cloudy future of Mayfield and Evans in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers are able to count on the consistency of Godwin for years to come.

"He's a phenomenal person, a phenomenal player, [and] a great example to this entire team. You know, you just almost take him for granted, he's there every day working his [butt] off.," said head coach Todd Bowles. "He came back from a brutal injury and came back faster than everybody expected. You know, he's just Mr. Consistency."

It's unclear what will happen with Evans, but next season could be one where Godwin stands out on his own whether his partner in crime is lining up next to him or not.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and rumors