With 26 year old wide receiver Chris Godwin slated to hit the free agency market in a little over two weeks, Bucs general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians both spoke about Godwin to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Tuesday afternoon.
Godwin played under the franchise tag last season and when asked if Godwin could be tagged for a second consecutive year Arians responded “I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question. Hopefully not, so we can do something else. I would love to get him under contract.” Sounds like the Buccaneers would prefer to get a long term deal done, but they aren’t ruling the franchise tag out completely.
Godwin’s importance to the offense was magnified after he went down with a season ending ACL injury in week 15. After that, the Bucs offense just never quite looked the same. Arians and Licht both seem to understand his role and importance as Arians said “Chris is so valuable to what we do and obviously we really, really want him back.” Jason Licht also appears to recognize this as he said that Godwin has “meant the world to this organization” and then went on to say that “it would be hard for me to imagine moving forward without Chris.” Tampa Bay is clearly making Godwin a priority this offseason.
There are some legitimate questions and concerns as to whether Godwin would be available for the start of the regular season wherever he plays in 2022. A major injury like the one Godwin suffered has made some wonder about his status for week one. When asked about where Godwin is at in his recovery, Licht explained that “from what I understand he’s doing well. It’s a little early to give a full diagnosis or estimation of when he’s gonna be ready but I wouldn’t bet against Chris anytime.”
Licht was asked if the injury could potentially hurt the chances of coming to an agreement and hoping he returns to form and Licht said “sometimes you have to bet on the guy.” So Godwin’s status for week one appears to be up in the air, but it doesn’t seem like Tampa Bay has any long term concerns with his injury.
One thing that was made clear when listening to Licht and Arians speak was that they value Godwin immensely and want to bring him back to Tampa Bay. With the comments made by Licht and Arians, it would be a major surprise if Godwin ended up playing anywhere else in 2022 but crazier things have happened.
We will know Godwin’s future with the Bucs in a few weeks but right now it is looking pretty promising for the star receiver.