The defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers entered this offseason with a number of free agents to address at key positions. Now, just several days before the start of the new league year, one of those free agents is off the market.
According to Rick Stroud, the Buccaneers have placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin. Godwin, after earning $4.65 million during his rookie contract, gets a significant pay bump as the franchise tag number for receivers comes in at $16.4 million.
Bucs are placing the franchise tag on Chris Godwin.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) March 9, 2021
The move ensures that Godwin will return for at least one more season but it also means that linebackers Lavonte David and Shaquill Barrett will hit free agency. Both were candidates for the tag, Barrett played on it this season, but will now look at potential opportunities outside of Tampa.
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It was never likely that the Buccaneers were going to hang on to all their free agents and this doesn’t necessarily close the door on a return for either David or Barrett. Especially if the rumored Brady contract extension comes to fruition. However, in hindsight, it looks as though Jason Licht and the Bucs front office saw Godwin as the priority.
Godwin joins Mike Evans, Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller, Cameron Brate, and O.J. Howard as Bucs pass catchers. Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown are both free agents with Gronk being the more likely of the two to return.