The Tampa Bay Buccaneers slapped the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin for the second consecutive season. Godwin and the Bucs were negotiating right up until the deadline but were ultimately unable to agree on a contract extension.
This season, Godwin will get a nice bump in salary as he will make $19.179 million playing under the franchise tag for one year.
The franchise tag was not the ideal move for the Buccaneers with over 24 players on the roster due to become unrestricted free agents next Monday.
Because the Bucs franchised Godwin for the second year in a row, his entire salary will count against the cap unless a contract extension is agreed upon before July 15th.
Godwin was the Buc’s leading receiver in 2021 with 98 catches for 1103 yards and five touchdowns.
Yes, a contract extension is what we want for Chris Godwin. But waiting until July 15th to do so will hurt the Bucs.
To be a player in free agency, the Buccaneers need to sign Godwin to a new contract extension by Wednesday, March 16th. If the Bucs drag these negotiations out till mid-July, many of the free agents will have signed with other teams, leaving the Bucs to big up the pieces. The extra cap space (208.3 Million for 2022) won’t mean anything by waiting until July.
It would have been beneficial for Godwin and the Bucs to agree to a contract extension before Tuesday’s 4 PM deadline. I understand wanting to keep Godwin in the fold, but for this tag to be a good move for the Bucs, an extension with Godwin needs to be agreed upon by March 16th.
However, this move is a significant one for the Buccaneers as it now looks as if cornerback Carlton Davis, along with some of the other Bucs free agents, will test the free-agent waters.
According to the website Spotrac, the Bucs have committed $195.5 million to-the salary cap for the 2022 season, including the $19 million to Godwin.
The rookie class of 2022 will cost the Bucs around $2.5 million towards the cap, leaving the team around ten million dollars in cap room to sign their free agents. The Bucs can create more salary cap room by simply converting the base salary of some players into a bonus.
With offensive linemen Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa, running back Leonard Fournette, linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, and secondary players Carlton Davis, and Jordan Whitehead hitting free agency, ten to twelve million under the cap is not near enough money to re-sign these free agents, let alone to try and sign some of the other free agents that will be available.
The Bucs will undoubtedly look at some other players with big contracts like Vita Vea or Shaq Barrett to create additional salary cap room.
The organization needs to understand that Tom Brady is no longer in Tampa. The Buccaneers will not be the first choice destination of marquee free agents in the future, as was the case with some free agents the previous two seasons.
One thing we do know. The Bucs will not be able to sign all of their free agents in any best-case scenario, so next season, this team will look a lot different from the Bucs team we saw the previous two seasons. Last year, the Buccaneers brought back all 22 starts to try and win a second consecutive Super Bowl.
With a Godwin extension in place before Wednesday, that will free up some money to re-sign some of their free agents and also possibly take a run at some other players that will be available.