3 players Buccaneers may trade ahead of 2024 NFL Draft

If the Buccaneers make a move before the NFL Draft, a few guys could make sense as trade candidates.
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With the conclusion of free agency, the next offseason focus for Tampa Bay is the 2024 NFL draft. Starting April 25, the Buccaneers and the remainder of the league will have the chance to upgrade their rosters ahead of the 2024 season.

In free agency, the Bucs brought back all three key free agents set to hit the market. Mike Evans agreed on a two-year, $52 million contract extension, used the $19.8 million franchise tag on free safety Antoine Winfield Jr., and the team re-signed Baker Mayfield to a $100 million deal.

As a result, the Bucs have already taken huge strides toward putting themselves back into contention this season, and are also setting up a fantastic foundation for the future. Even so, the Buccaneers' roster is far from solidified, and will have the ability to upgrade their roster through potential trades, possibility with the departures of these four players.

Potential Buccaneers trade candidates ahead of NFL Draft

WR Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin, Darrell Baker Jr.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

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.

At 28 years old, Godwin has been an excellent complementary piece to Evans, and figures to continue to be in Tampa. As the offseason continues to near the 2024 NFL draft, Godwin has been labeled as a potential trade candidate ahead of April 25.

"[The Bucs] may prefer Godwin to stick as a reliable, if unspectacular, starter," said Cody Benjamin, a football analyst for CBS Sports. "But he's entering the final year of an expensive deal, due a whopping $27.5 million in 2024, and Evans is commanding top dollar on his own new deal. Maybe they'd be open to replacing his role via the draft."

Based on his three-year, $60 million contract extension signed in 2022, Godwin is set to make $20 million in 2024, and holds a $27.5 million cap hit, the fourth-highest among receivers in the NFL. If the Buccaneers did trade Godwin after June 1, the Buccaneers would save close to $20 million in cash.

That said, Tampa Bay would also take on about $35 million in dead money between 2023 and 2024. This would also mean 2023 fifth-round pick Trey Palmer, return specialist Deven Thompkins, or 2023 undrafted free agent Rakim Jarrett would move up in the depth chart.

To be honest, Palmer, Thompkins, and Jarrett have not shown the production and ability to be capable weapons for Mayfield. Coupled with offensive coordinator Liam Coen envisioning Godwin taking a prominent role in the slot similar to that of Cooper Kupp during his Offensive Player of the Year season, and trading Godwin now would be a short-term solution to a problem the Buccaneers can't completely solve right now.