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4 top Chris Godwin free agent destinations

Chris Godwin

A torn ACL late in the season came at the worst time for Chris Godwin. On the brink of NFL free agency, the star wide receiver suffered a significant injury that would hurt his next contract. Fortunately, there are still plenty of suitors this offseason.

It’s easy to see why teams want to sign the former third-round pick. In a crowded Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiving corps, he emerged as a featured weapon. After earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2019, the 6-foot-1 receiver added to his dominance with another phenomenal year. Because of it, even with an ACL recovery, teams will be opening up their wallets to sign the 26-year-old weapon.

  • Chris Godwin career stats: 342 receptions, 4,643 receiving yards, 29 touchdowns

Let’s dive into the best free-agent landing spots for Chris Godwin.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

This is the outcome both sides want. The Buccaneers love Godwin and are making it a priority to re-sign him. Play-caller Byron Leftwich loves emphasizing the slot receiver in Tampa Bay’s offense and Godwin is one of the best in the NFL at his position.

Godwin played 509 snaps in the slot last season, per Pro Football Focus. When Tom Brady targeted him, it resulted in a 110.5 QB rating on the year. Even with Brady in retirement, this is a player the Buccaneers really can’t afford to lose. Financial constraints due to the NFL salary cap make re-signing Godwin more difficult, but mutual interest from both parties means it’s at least possible. One thing is for certain, Godwin doesn’t want the franchise tag again.

Miami Dolphins

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Godwin can leave the Buccaneers and stay in Florida. Among the NFL teams with the most salary-cap space in 2022, the Miami Dolphins are atop the list. Jaylen Waddle is an ascending player, but he split time between the slot and outside in his rookie season. Moving him to the perimeter and bringing Godwin into the slot could be perfect for Tua Tagovailoa.

  • Chris Godwin stats (2021): 98 receptions, 1,103 receiving yards, 55 first downs in 14 games

It creates an ideal scenario for Miami’s passing offense under first-year coach Mike McDaniel. Godwin can stay inside, creating separation in the middle of the field and Tagovailoa’s accuracy ensures throws will be on target. Opponents will be playing with a deeper safety, wanting to avoid Waddle burning them downfield. Together, the young receivers complement one another and they help Tagovailoa take a huge step forward in 2022.

Los Angeles Chargers

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

If Godwin wants to play with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, the Los Angeles Chargers are the perfect fit. Not only is this a destination where the young wide receiver can live his best life in California, it also affords him the ability to catch bullets from an elite passer and get paid.

  • Projected Chris Godwin contract: 4 years, $70 million

The Chargers are well-positioned to spend this offseason and they’ll need a replacement for Mike Williams. While the traditional slot position is taken by Keenan Allen, Godwin played 303 snaps on the outside in 2021 and can be the Z-receiver in this offense. While he might be the secondary target behind Allen, that still means 150-plus targets in a scheme that saw Herbert attempt 672 passes last season.

Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars might not seem like the dream destination for an NFL player. However, there are some appealing aspects that could make this a more appealing destination for Chris Godwin than the Buccaneers or Dolphins.

In comparison to Tampa Bay, the Jaguars have significantly more cap space and can make Godwin one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL. Of course, that alone wouldn’t be enough. The swaying factor is the quarterback situation. Trevor Lawrence is eons better than projected Buccaneers’ starter Blaine Gabbert and that factored in with the bigger contract, might give Jacksonville an edge.

As for Miami, it can offer similar money to Jacksonville and a better location. However, Godwin would be sharing targets with Waddle and Tagovailoa already has chemistry with his former college teammate. Plus, Lawrence offers far more physical upside as a passer than Tagovailoa.

A lucrative contract in a state without an income tax, playing for a team with a great quarterback with all the targets he could ask for. Considering all of that, the Jaguars become an appealing option.

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