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Buccaneers decision to bring back Chris Godwin and Shaquil Barrett was a ‘chess game’

Tampa Bay’s GM sheds some light on the negotiations.

NFL: OCT 18 Packers at Buccaneers
Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht watches his team warm up before the regular season game against the Green Bay Packers.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was widely speculated that the Buccaneers would definitely retain at least one of their top two free agents following the Super Bowl. There was no way they’d be able to keep wide receiver Chris Godwin as well as edge rusher Shaquil Barrett.

But they did.

Tampa Bay was able to place the franchise tag on Godwin and re-signed Barrett. They were moves all parties agreed to and now that we look back on it, it appears that there may have never been any doubt the Bucs weren’t keeping both.

Despite how seamless it may look now, general manager Jason Licht says that it was a “chess game” when asked how they were able to pull off retaining them.

“All of these guys, they wanted to be here at the end of the day, why wouldn’t you? We’re coming off a Super Bowl, we have the GOAT at quarterback, a great head coach, great ownership, and a great town,” Licht said on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Bill Lekas and Charlie Weis. “It was a little bit of a chess game deciding what to do there. We wanted to make the move we felt had the best chance to keep both and it turned out we got it right and everybody is very happy about it.”

Licht and the Buccaneers are returning all 22 starters from their Super Bowl roster. That makes them the first team in the salary cap era to do so.

Godwin and Barrett were huge hurdles they cleared early on to be able to do so.