The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finally made a move that goes against setting Tom Brady up for future success by dealing with the Pats in exchange for a third-round pick. While this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because the Patriots are going to find a way to throw the ball to Gronk, this move is the gutsy move the Bucs needed to make. They’ve had a long history of waiting to make a move like this, but this was the time to do it.
The Buccaneers have been linked to Tom Brady for the past several seasons, but they finally made a move this offseason that goes against setting him up for future success. The Buccaneers reached a three-year extension with quarterback Jameis Winston, which is a big deal for the team. They were the first team to offer Winston a long term contract, and he has proven to be a franchise quarterback since signing in 2016.Ever since Tom Brady was convinced to trade the cold winters of New England for the sunny days of Florida, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done everything they can to keep him happy. From acquiring Rob Gronkowski to contracting Antonio Brown, general manager Jason Licht has done his best to give the GOAT what he wanted in his first season with the Buccaneers. And after Brady immediately led his new team to a Super Bowl title, Licht made good on his promise to keep Tampa’s championship team intact.
But the Buccaneers finally made a move that contradicts setting up TB12 for future success. And the irony of the Chris Godwin situation is that if he returns to his 2019 form, it could create problems for Tampa next season.
If Brady didn’t get a lot of help from general manager Bill Belichick when he was with the New England Patriots, he was certainly treated well by his new general manager. With Licht and head coach Bruce Arians showing a willingness to listen to the thoughts of the legendary quarterback, the Buccaneers have put together a solid team for the 2020 season. Although Tampa got off to a slow start, it was clear throughout the game that the team on both sides of the ball had the talent to win the title. And at the end of Super Bowl 55, Brady hoisted the Lombardi Trophy over his head for the seventh time since entering the sixth round in the NFL in 2000.
And judging by Light’s work this season, the Buccaneers seem more than capable of winning back-to-back titles.
Although a number of key players were laid off, Tampa did not suffer a significant loss of personnel. Instead, the Buccaneers signed Shaquille Barrett (four years, $68 million) and Levonte David (two years, $25 million) to lucrative contracts. They also signed Ndamukong Suh, Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette to one-year contracts. Meanwhile, Chris Godwin is branded as an unrestricted free agent.
With all 22 key players returning and a strong 2021 NFL draft class, the Buccaneers are well on their way to winning another Super Bowl with Brady at center. However, their latest move is in direct contradiction to their leader’s championship extension.
Tom Brady and Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate at the end of the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. | Stacy Revere/Getty Images
The Buccaneers had until Thursday, 15. July, 4:00, time to sign one of Brady’s top targets. Given Godwin’s contributions in the first four years of his career, including a 1,333-yard campaign and nine touchdowns in 2019, he seemed like a worthy candidate for a long-term contract. But after spending a lot of money this spring to keep their core, the Bakkaniers decided not to spend any more money on Godwin until the deadline.
NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport tweeted the final totals of players tagged by the franchise. While Dak Prescott, Leonard Williams, Justin Simmons and Taylor Moton signed multi-year contracts, Godwin, Marcus Williams, Marcus Mayeux, Allen Robinson, Cam Robinson and Brandon Sherff did not. So all these players have signed a one-year contract for the 2021 season. Godwin will earn $15.9 million, well above his $2.1 million salary in 2020.
Just because the Buccaneers didn’t sign him before the deadline doesn’t mean he’ll be a free agent. But by not making a deal with Godwin, they left open the possibility that one of Brady’s most talented targets will find a new home in 2022. Instead of contracting the 25-year-old for the rest of Brady’s tenure in Tampa, the Buccaneers have no guarantee that Godwin will remain a major part of their offense for the foreseeable future. Having him finish the year with the franchise tag seems like a bit of a gamble, especially considering the second tag would cost the Buccaneers about $19 million.
Godwin can’t afford setbacks if he wants to get a life-changing contract. He needs to turn back the clock in 2019 to reaffirm his title as one of the league’s best broadcasters. But if he lives up to his offensive potential under Brady, Godwin might become too expensive for the Buccaneers.
Let’s say a 6-foot-3, 209-pound receiver makes about 80 catches for 1,200 yards and at least five touchdowns. This means that Godwin can claim a place in the top five, especially since he will only turn 26 in February. His skills as a passer and runner should also make him a sought-after commodity on the free market…. if he gets there.
The Buccaneers should be willing to pay between $18 million and $20 million per year to tie Godwin and Brady together. Will it be too much for Tampa’s budget? Or will Licht make sure one of the team’s local stars doesn’t leave?
If money becomes an issue, Brady could sign a contract extension to give the team an out.
Not that this is anything new for him, is it?
All statistics are from Pro Football Reference. All contract details are provided by Spotrac.
COMPARED TO: Browns desperately need Tom Brady to keep Baker Mayfield from making a potentially fatal mistake
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