Tampa Bay Buccaneers make it clear they want WR Chris Godwin back in free agency – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Blog

TAMPA, Fla. — Two overarching themes in Tampa Bay Buccaneers-related discussions among NFL executives, scouts and coaches at the NFL meeting in Indianapolis last week were:

1. Quarterback uncertainty, which won’t be answered until at least March 14, when the legal tampering begins.

2. Wide receiver Chris Godwin is too important to lose and can’t hit the open market.

“Chris is so valuable to what we do, and obviously we really, really want him back,” Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said last week.

Representatives for Godwin met with the Buccaneers in Indianapolis, and both parties said those conversations were positive and that Godwin’s asking price was fair and reasonable.

Barring an 11th-hour deal, which is unlikely, the Bucs are ready to franchise Godwin before Tuesday’s deadline at 4 p.m. ET, which would cost the Bucs an estimated $19.18 million after signing him. paid $15.98 million to play under the franchise tag last season.

A franchise tag doesn’t automatically mean a long-term deal won’t happen, and sources close to those negotiations have pointed that out. The Bucs still have until July 15 to negotiate the upcoming season.

The Dallas Cowboys placed the tag on quarterback Dak Prescott before last year’s franchise tag deadline, but it was considered a mere procedural decision before Prescott signed his extension long term, which he did.

But the NFL requires that a second consecutive franchise tag for a player cost at least 120% more than the player’s previous salary. The downsides are that it doesn’t allow for any salary cap relief (compared to a contract that could spread the cap over years, which the Bucs could really use) and teams can’t tag a player more than three times. They could also theoretically reach a new deal before free agency begins on March 16.

Kenny Golladay helped boost the wide receiver market when he signed a four-year contract with the New York Giants worth $72 million last March. Expect Godwin, who turned 26 in February, to seek a three-year contract so he can return to free agency before he turns 30 – which would allow him to cash in again, assuming he maintains his level of play.

If the Bucs tag Godwin, it prevents them from tagging cornerback Carlton Davis, a player some had tied the Bucs to tagging and who the Bucs said they would be open to tagging.

But Davis is coming off a season where he missed five games and had just one interception. Although he’s a solid press corner and arguably the Bucs’ best corner, teams in the league are still watching the stats. Two years ago, he had a personal best four steals, but he was still tied for seventh in the league (Xavien Howard led the league with 10 that season).

Godwin spent two seasons catching passes from recently retired quarterback Tom Brady. But Godwin also had a 1,000-yard season with Jameis Winston — further proof of why the wide is well-respected in NFL circles.

Godwin is coming off a 1,103-yard season despite missing the last three games with a torn ACL and MCL, which he underwent surgery to repair Jan. 3. NFL. Arians said he believes Godwin is around 45% recovered.

“Knowing Chris and the way he works – he’s had a good surgery, and these guys are coming back faster and faster now – I don’t think that’s going to be a problem at all,” Arians said.

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