The beginning of NFL free agency is just over two weeks away, and one of the biggest names on the market this time around is Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Chris Godwin.
The 26-year-old wideout is coming off his second 1,000-yard season, as he put up 1,103 yards and five touchdowns before suffering a torn ACL in week 15 against the Seahawks. The knee injury does complicate things for Godwin this offseason, after he played on a franchise tag for the Bucs in 2021.
But Godwin is still expected to garner a ton of attention on the open market, thanks in large part to his successful surgery and the fact that there was no meniscus damage — meaning his recovery should be quicker.
So which team will land the prized wideout? Here are the three most likely destinations for Godwin:
Quarterback is the biggest need for the Commanders as they head into the 2022 season, but they’re also going to want to load up on weapons for whoever they decide to roll with under center.
At the moment, Washington has a number one wideout in Terry McLaurin and a playmaking running back in Antonio Gibson. They also have a solid tight end in Logan Thomas and a gadget wideout in Curtis Samuel. But they could still use a speedy Z-receiver to compliment Scary Terry on the outside.
The Commanders currently have just over $30-million in estimated cap space, according to Spotrac, which is the 10th most cap space in the league. If they can free up some additional space with a savvy move here and there, they could sign Godwin while also upgrading their QB situation. That type of facelift on offense, coupled with an already loaded defense, would immediately turn them into the team to beat in the NFC East.
The Jags’ top two receivers on their depth chart currently are Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault. Simply put, that’s not going to cut it. The return of Travis Etienne should help his former Clemson teammate in year two, but Lawrence needs more.
Popular belief if the Jags will be targeting some wideouts in free agency. Allen Robinson’s name has come up as part of a possible reunion in Duval, but if the Jags really want to see Lawrence thrive, they’ll go after the best available option, which is easily Chris Godwin (assuming the Packers franchise tag Davante Adams).
Jacksonville has over $56-million in cap space so they have plenty of available money to make a big splash. They’ll need to use some of that money to improve their offensive line and their defense, but a player like Godwin to help their franchise QB should be priority number one.
Much like the Washington Commanders, the Arizona Cardinals also have an elite X-receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. But with Christian Kirk set to hit the open market, and Rondale Moore better suited for slot duties, the Cards could go shopping for a high-end Z-receiver in an effort to keep Kyler Murray happy.
Unlike Washington or Jacksonville, however, the Cardinals will have to perform a little more cap gymnastics in order to afford another star receiver, but it’s far from impossible. And Arizona should be motivated after watching their offense flame out down the stretch in 2022, before falling in the Wild Card round to the Los Angeles Rams after putting up just 11 points.
The Rams and San Francisco 49ers already field top-flight offenses with plenty of weapons. If Arizona wants to keep pace with their NFC West foes, they’ll be eager to add to Murray’s arsenal in what could be a make-or-break season for the 2019 first overall pick. Teaming up Godwin with Hopkins just might be the move that helps Murray take his game to a new, championship- and MVP-caliber level.
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