With NFL free agency just around the corner, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason plans are starting to come together.
One move, which has been speculated for some time, is reportedly drawing closer to coming to fruition. ESPN's Jenna Laine shared on Tuesday that the Buccaneers and wide receiver Chris Godwin are believed to be trending towards the franchise tag in their contract negotiations.
"They won’t let Godwin out of the building, whether that’s playing under a new contract or the franchise tag, which would cost them approximately $16.5 million. Sources close to the situation believe that’s where things are headed, and Godwin indicated he’d be OK playing under the tag, although the plan is to keep him in Tampa Bay long-term."
One way or another, Godwin is widely expected to play in a Buccaneers uniform next season and for the foreseeable future. The former third-round selection out of Penn State has been nothing short of productive over the past four seasons in Tampa Bay, hauling in 244 receptions for 3,540 yards and 24 touchdowns in that stretch.
Godwin has made just $4.6 million in total career earnings thus far into his career, making the $16.5 million, short-term tag number a bit more appealing than to, say, edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, who spent the 2020 season on a $15.8 million tag and aims to sign a long-term contract this offseason - whether that be with the Buccaneers or elsewhere.
Tampa Bay wants Godwin to remain a Buccaneer for a long time, but with only $24 million in projected cap space as of right now, it will be no easy feat to get him, Barrett, linebacker Lavonte David, and numerous other free agents under contract for a long period of time at the moment.
The franchise tag, should it be valued at $16.5 million for wide receivers this offseason as expected, would make Godwin's 2021 salary tied for the eighth-largest at his position before any other extensions or deals are handed out, possibly dropping out of the top ten after this free agency period.
Tampa Bay could greatly utilize that flexibility to get players under contract for another Super Bowl run next season.