The Athletic has a surprising, but awesome, MVP prediction for Buccaneers

Chris Godwin is being picked as an MVP for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, something Todd Bowles will no doubt love.
Chris Godwin is being picked as an MVP for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, something Todd Bowles will no doubt love. / Sebastian Widmann/GettyImages

We are deep into the doldrums of summer, which means a few different things for the NFL.

On the one hand there's nothing to really talk about as we wait for training camp to start. For the most part, rosters are what they are and won't change much in the next few months outside of players getting released from camp.

Then again, it's a perfect opportunity to look ahead and try to predict what might happen when the action kicks off in September. There's a blending of those two things for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as The Athletic rolled out a prediction that highlights just how great the roster could be this season.

Chris Godwin is getting some high praise ahead of 2024 season

The Athletic's Dan Pompei listed each team's non-quarterback MVP and had a surprising choice for the Bucs. It's not that Chris Godwin doesn't make sense as a potential standout candidate this season; it's just that he usually never gets this sort of praise over Mike Evans.

Pompei isn't dismissing Evans, instead highlighting just how big of a season this could be for Godwin and why it might be mutually beneficial.

Mike Evans gets most of the attention, but Godwin remains one of football’s better receivers. He had more receptions than Evans in four of the last five seasons, including the last three. The Bucs believe he will have more yards this year because they intend to use him more in the slot and less outside. At 28, Godwin is at the height of his abilities, and he should be at the height of his desire — his contract is up after this season," Pompei wrote.

The numbers don't reflect how frustrating things were for Godwin last season. He finished a yard better than his 2022 yardage total, but had just a pair of touchdowns and his usage rate felt drastically low.

Perhaps the lowest point came in Week 13, when Godwin was on the field for 84 percent of Tampa Bay's offensive snaps and was targeted just three times. Bad weather might have factored into that, but it was bizarre to see him have the biggest impact on an end around play rather than in the passing game.

That's just how things went for Godwin under Dave Canales last season. Week 9 against Houston he was on the field for 88 percent of the snaps -- his highest total of the season, and finished with two catches for 16 yards.

On the macro he might not have regressed, but it felt like Godwin was a ghost for most of last season and it shouldn't be that way. Pompei is spot on in his assessment that this is a contract season for one of the best receivers in the league who is still under the age of 30.

We've seen what Godwin can do when he's on firing on all cylinders, and all signs point to him tapping into the revenge narrative and proving some doubters wrong this upcoming season.

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