Will The Buccaneers Bring Back Chris Godwin in 2025?

BucsGameday staff gives their take on a big question looming for next season.
Jan 21, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) makes a catch against the Detroit Lions during the first half in a 2024 NFC divisional round game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) makes a catch against the Detroit Lions during the first half in a 2024 NFC divisional round game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have brought quite a few key players back to the fold during the 2024 offseason, but they'll have a big question to answer for 2025.

Wide receiver Chris Godwin is set to be a free agent in 2025, and general manager Jason Licht and his staff will have to decide if they want to bring him back. Godwin is currently making $20 million this year, and he'll be looking to get another contract this offseason. Not only did the Buccaneers draft a potential replacement for him in Jalen McMillan, but offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs will also be looking for a bag and the team will have to factor that in, too.

That being said, Godwin's affinity for the team and the Tampa Bay area would have to be in consideration as well, and player that play for a team for a long time tend not to jump at the chance to leave when free agency comes around.

The 2024 season hasn't started, so Godwin's play will likely be a factor here. But until then. BucsGameday staff gave their takes on whether or not they think Godwin will return to Tampa Bay at the end of the season:

JC Allen, Writer: YES

Godwin is primed to have a big year with a move back to the slot in new offensive coordinator Liam Coen’s offensive system. When he came off a torn ACL in 2022, the veteran wideout was able to reel in 104 receptions for 1,023 yards and three scores and that was in the outdated offense ran under Byron Leftwich. Coen is running a modern-style offense that will incorporate motions and shifts and put guys in the best position to make plays. Mike Evans and Godwin are the only receiving duo to eclipse 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons and that streak should continue this year as well. 

But if Godwin goes off and has a great season, won’t he price himself out of what Tampa Bay can afford, especially with the booming receiver market? 

I'm not so sure. 

The Bucs have a projected $29 million in cap space for 2025, and sure, Tristan Wirfs’ contract will eat into that, but the team’s list of projected free agents is nothing like it was this season. In fact, outside of Lavonte David, the Buccaneers aren’t set to have any premium free agents on tap for next season. With ample cap space, Tampa Bay should be able to re-sign Godwin to a contract that makes sense for both parties. But what would that look like?

Godwin will be 30 years old heading into the 2025 season and has a lot of wear and tear on his body at this stage which could work against him. What could help aid the Bucs in re-signing him is his roots in the Tampa Bay area. He has an up-and-running charity that works hand in hand with the Tampa Humane Society and has been outspoken about his love of the city. He also has a deep love for the organization and his teammates. Remember, when it came time to pay Godwin his extension, Evans went to general manager Jason Licht and told him to take money from him to make sure he was retained. 

All players want to get paid what they feel is commensurate for their ability, but there is also a comfort factor as well. Godwin is settled, loves the team, the city, and his teammates, and there is a chance he might take less than what he could get on the market to stick around, like Evans did, especially after getting a big payday already. 

River Wells, Editor: NO

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers arguably have one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL, but it should also be mentioned that Mike Evans is currently 30 (and will be 31 when the NFL season starts) and Chris Godwin is 28. The Bucs are already paying Evans a lot of money for someone north of 30, and it would be a poor decision to pay yet another receiver approaching that age a bag, too. Keeping old players around for too long has hurt plenty of teams (ask the Saints), and while Godwin obviously isn't ancient yet, he would be better served to try and get a bag elsewhere from a team that could pay him more and make him a bigger part of the offense as he approaches age 30 himself.

Additionally, the Bucs drafted Jalen McMillan in the 2024 NFL Draft, and he (on paper) looks to be a perfect replacement for Godwin. He's a smooth route runner who mainly plays in the slot, and so if Godwin leaves this offseason, the Bucs already have a younger body with a similar skill set. Additionally, the Bucs still have to pay Tristan Wirfs that offseason, so that will be another big contract to add to the stack.

I think it would be in the best interest of both parties to part ways in 2025.

Caleb Skinner, Writer: YES

Chris Godwin is set to enter free agency this upcoming year and there has been constant chatter surrounding whether or not he will re-sign with the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have drafted wide receivers the past two seasons in Trey Palmer and Jalen McMillan, but that doesn't necessarily mean Godwin will be on his way out. McMillan is more of a slot WR, like Godwin, so that is the part that gets tricky. Ultimately, I believe that the team would want Godwin back in the fold after this season, but they draft McMillan in case he won't return.

I think Godwin is comfortable in Tampa Bay and no matter what type of season he has, the Bucs will make it work with the veteran wideout to make sure he stays with the franchise as one of those "Buc for life" type players.

Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.

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Published
River Wells

RIVER WELLS

River Wells is a sports journalist from St. Petersburg, Florida, who has covered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2023. He graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Florida in 2021. You can follow him on Twitter @riverhwells.

Caleb Skinner

CALEB SKINNER

Caleb is from Nashville, TN and graduated from Florida State University in 2018 with majors in Sociology and History. He has previously written for an FSU outlet and started covering the Buccaneers in March of 2022. Caleb is an avid sports fan and former host of the Tribeoholics podcast. You can follow Caleb on Twitter @chsnole

JC Allen

JC ALLEN

JC Allen has been covering the Bucs since 2020. He is credentialed reporter and writer for Sports Illustrated’s Bucs Gameday and is the VP of the PFWA Tampa Chapter. A transplant to the area, he offers unparalleled views and insights on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.