Chris Godwin signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason despite suffering an ACL injury in 2021 that could cost him the start of the 2022 season. Tampa Bay showcased its commitment to Godwin by giving him $20 million a year while he was rehabbing from knee surgery.
The Buccaneers won’t be rushing Godwin back into the fold either, as head coach Todd Bowles won’t commit if the star receiver will be ready for training camp come July.
“When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. We don’t put a timetable on it,” Bowles said at Buccaneers minicamp Tuesday. “He’s coming along. Obviously, he’s better than where he was. But, he’s not where he needs to be. He’s coming along – he works hard.”
Bowles also doesn’t have any milestones for Godwin in his recovery, saying he’ll reach one when he “gets back on the field.” When Godwin does return to the field, the Buccaneers will be adding one of Tom Brady’s most potent pass-catchers.
Godwin has averaged 81.9 receiving yards per game since the start of the 2019 season, fourth in the NFL. His 53 catches of 20-plus yards since the start of 2019 are third in the league and his 1,443 yards after the catch are fourth in the NFL. One of the best slot receivers in the game, Godwin has 152 catches (fifth in NFL), 2,082 yards (fourth), and 11 touchdowns (tied for eighth) from the slot for the last three years — despite missing nine games with injuries .
Godwin finished with 98 catches for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns in just 14 games, his second 1,000-yard season in three years. Godwin’s seven receptions per third game in 2021 were in the NFL and 78.8 receiving yards per game were seventh in the league.
The Buccaneers can afford to be patient with Godwin’s recovery, signing Russell Gage as an insurance policy until Godwin returns. They also have Mike Evans as the No. 1 wide receiver, with him and Gage as the top two pass-catchers in the interim.
Tampa Bay can make its Super Bowl run when Godwin returns. In the meantime, they’ll develop the pass-catchers they have in camp — mainly Cyril Grayson and Tyler Johnson. Breshad Perriman is also expected to be a contributor until Godwin returns.