Buccaneers still need to lock up two more extensions after re-signing Antoine Winfield Jr.

The extension of Antoine Winfield Jr. sets two Buccaneers as the next-in-line for lucrative contract deals,
Detroit Lions v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Detroit Lions v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

An already action-packed and successful offseason continued for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. On Monday, the Buccaneers signed superstar safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to a record-setting four-year, $84.1 million contract. Not only does that make Winfield Jr. the highest-paid safety in the NFL, but also the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history.

It also means the Bucs locked up one of their most important players, and ties a bow around an offseason of retaining key talent.

Tampa Bay successfully re-signed Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, Lavonte David, and now Winfield Jr. this offseason, while adding several impact players to their team. After falling just two games shy of another Super Bowl appearance, it’s clear that the front office have set the Bucs up to repeat success in 2024 and beyond, even in an improving NFC South.

Jason Licht’s work is hardly done, though. With Winfield locked into the core, the Bucs can now turn their attention to two other players who are in line for new deals in the near future.

Tristan Wirfs, OT

Other than Evans, Wirfs holds the title as the Buccaneers' top draft pick within the last decade after an impressive four-year start to his NFL career. Starting in 63 games, Wirfs has played 4,286 total snaps and has allowed just ten sacks and 16 penalties. Starting in 2020, Wirfs has earned PFF grades of 83.8, 81.1, 84.6, and 81.8, the highest marks of any offensive lineman drafted in 2020.

While Wirfs' 2023 season wasn't too great, allowing six penalties and five sacks on 1099 snaps, Wirfs still finished the year with an 81.1 grade from PFF. Similarly, Wirfs didn't allow a single penalty or sack in 134 postseason snaps this season for a career-best 83.6 PFF grade in the postseason.

At just 25 years old, Wirfs has quickly ascended the ranks of the NFL's top tackles. To clarify, Wirfs has earned three Pro Bowl selections and was named to the NFL's All-Pro First Team in 2021 and the Second Team in 2022. After making the NFL's All-Rookie Team in 2020, Wirfs has earned rankings of No. 89, No. 41, and No. 98 in the NFL's annual top-100 list.

As the No. 13 pick in the 2020 draft, Wirfs signed a four-year, $16.2 million rookie contract through this past season. The Buccaneers rightfully picked up Wirf's fifth-year option worth $18.6 million for 2024, and coming to terms on an extension for the superstar left tackle is the next key goal for Tampa Bay.

It wouldn't be shocking for Wirfs to become the highest-paid tackle in the league and in NFL history. As of now, Detroit All-Pro tackle Penei Sewell is the highest-paid offensive tackle in the league after signing a four-year, $112 million extension this offseason for an AAV of $28 million. Sewell clears Houston's Laremy Tunsil, New York's Andrew Thomas, and San Fransisco's Trent Williams as the richest offensive tackle, who each have AAVs of $25, $25, and $23.01, respectively.

Chris Godwin, WR

Although superstar receiver Mike Evans rightfully gains most of the attention and credit to the Buccaneers' strong passing game, Chris Godwin has been one of the steadiest and most reliable No. 2 receivers in the league since his rookie season.

Dating back to 2017, Godwin has caught 529 passes for 6,690 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and 12.6 yards per reception in 104 games (77 starts). It's worth noting Godwin has eclipsed the 1,000 receiving-yard mark in the last three seasons, and has done so in four of his six seasons in the league.

Even with inconsistent play and varying coordinators and quarterbacks, Godwin has still found success operating out of the slot. In his first season with Baker Mayfield behind center, Godwin totaled 83 receptions, 1,024 yards, two touchdowns, and 12.3 yards per catch, and posted 50+ yards in 12 of 17 games.

Like Wirfs, Godwin's current three-year, $60 million deal is set to expire next season, and is eligible for a contract extension. Without an extension, Godwin would be just one of many elite wide receivers in free agency, alongside Houston's Stefon Diggs, Cincinnati's Tee Higgins, Chicago's Keenan Allen, and Cleveland's Amari Cooper.

Because of the surplus in great free-agent wide receivers, Godwin may not receive much higher than his current AAV of $20 million. At 28 years old, a return to Tampa would make sense for both Godwin and the Buccaneers, who would be able to give the one-time Pro Bowler more money with an extension. The Buccaneers will enter 2025 with Evans, Trey Palmer, and 2023 third-round Jalen McMillan, so Godwin's stay in Tampa may not last as long as some people may think

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