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Despite franchise tag, Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking to sign Chris Godwin to long-term contract

Jan 24, 2021, Green Bay, WI, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) hauls in a long reception as Green Bay Packers free safety Darnell Savage (26) defends during the 2nd quarter of the Green Bay Packers game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship playoff game Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 at Lambeau Field Mandatory credit: Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finances took a major hit on Tuesday after the defending champs placed the franchise tag on star wide receiver Chris Godwin. If signed, said tag will cost Tampa Bay a whopping $16 million against the 2021 NFL salary cap.

In no way does this mean Tampa Bay has given up hopes of signing Godwin to a contract extension to lower his 2021 cap number. At the very least, that’s what we’re hearing.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking to sign Chris Godwin to long-term contract

Tampa Bay Buccaneers keeping Chris Godwin on 2021 franchise tag
Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) reaches for the ball during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport noted on Tuesday that the tag will act as a “placeholder” until the Buccaneers and Godwin are able to come to terms on a long-term contract.

An extension would make sense for both parties. By virtue of handing Chris Godwin the franchise tag and signing linebacker Lavonte David to a new two-year contract, Tampa Bay finds itself $10.35 million over the cap. It also has core internal free agents such as Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette and Ndamukong Suh to think about re-signing.

An impending Tom Brady contract extension will likely lower his cap number. However, there’s still a lot of work for general manager Jason Licht to do. Getting Godwin locked up would help a lot.

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What a Chris Godwin contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might look like

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Chris Godwin extension
Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin celebrates a second half touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Godwin, 25, has been stellar since Tampa Bay made him a third-round pick back in 2017. The Penn State product is averaging 70 receptions for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns over the past three seasons. He’s still only 25 and has yet to hit his prime.

Any potential extension would likely come in at north of $18 million annually. Comparable contracts include Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill. In turn, the Buccaneers could back load massive cap hits, lowering Godwin’s 2021 number in the process.

Something to the tune of five years for $90 million with a $10 million cap hit for the 2021 season could make sense. After all, the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl window is wide open following last season’s shocking run to the title. They will sacrifice future cap health for continued short-term contention.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Buccaneers, check out #GoBucs rumors, rankings, and news here.