Commanders

WRs Godwin, Gallup fit Commanders despite ACL tears

Commanders
Chris Godwin and Michael Gallup

With the Super Bowl in the past and the 2021 season in the books, NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux and Matt Weyrich take a look at potential free agents that the Washington Commanders could benefit from signing this offseason. Next up: WRs Chris Godwin and Michael Gallup.

The 2022 wide receiver free agent class is one the most talented pass-catching groups to hit the open market in recent memory. Davante Adams is the headliner but there are plenty of big names behind him.

One such player is Chris Godwin, who’s spent the last two seasons as one of Tom Brady’s top options in the passing game. Since breaking out in 2019, Godwin has averaged 81.9 yards per game with a catch rate of 75% — both top three among wide receivers with at least 200 receptions over that span. Though he finished the season on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL, Godwin would be a great fit for the receiver-needy Commanders.

Chris Godwin

Listed at 6-foot-1, 208 pounds, Godwin is a physical receiver with great hands that help him to make tough catches on short and intermediate routes over the middle of the field. His speed allows him to occasionally take the top off a defense, but Godwin’s value is found in his ability to reel in contested catches on third down and in goal line situations.

According to Pro Football Focus, Godwin lined up in the slot on 61.2% of his routes in 2021 and was on the outside 36.4% of the time. The Commanders’ receiving corps beyond Terry McLaurin is far from settled, so they could move Godwin back and forth in similar fashion depending on matchups. His skillset is similar to that of McLaurin, but that’s not a bad thing. Putting them on opposite sides of the field would be a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators to gameplan against.

 

PFF projects Godwin to sign a four-year, $70 million contract this offseason. Between the $13 million cap hit Curtis Samuel carries each the next two years and a looming potential extension for McLaurin, the Commanders already have a good amount of money tied into the receiver position. If Godwin proves to be too costly for their taste, a cheaper option could be Michael Gallup.

Michael Gallup

The Dallas Cowboys’ 2018 third-round pick has a similar build to that of Godwin, entering last season at 6-foot-1, 198 pounds. He’s spent the past few years playing in a crowded receiving corps similar to that Tampa Bay, switching between the slot and outside receiver positions. Like Godwin, he’s coming off a torn ACL and may not be healthy by Week 1.

However, that may bode well for his price tag. Gallup is projected by PFF to ink a two-year, $25 million deal in free agency that would be essentially be a prove-it deal for him to reset his market. The Commanders would certainly be a fit in that price range, entering the offseason with just under $32 million in cap space per Over The Cap.

While Gallup’s hands aren’t as sound as Godwin’s, he’s an exceptional route runner capable of making big plays downfield. Over the last three seasons, only five players with at least 150 catches have averaged more yards per reception than Gallup’s 15.0: Mike Williams, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, Justin Jefferson and Mike Evans. Not too shabby of company to be in.

The Commanders’ ability to solve their quarterback situation before free agency opens will play a significant role in their chances of luring any top pass catchers to Washington. Godwin is going to be highly sought after even with his injury status. Should the bidding get out of control, Gallup would be a similar option at a much cheaper price.

Other Free Agent Targets:

2 viable quarterbacks

Safety Marcus Williams

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

2 veteran cornerback options

WR Mike Williams