Football Team

Free Agent Targets: Godwin headlines a stacked WR class

Football Team

* With the Super Bowl in the past and the 2020 season in the books, NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux and Ryan Homler take a look at 10 potential free agents that the Washington Football Team could benefit from signing this offseason. Next up: Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin.

Chris Godwin

2017 third-round pick from Penn State; Unrestricted Free Agent; 6-foot-1 | 209 lbs. | 25 years old

Just three days after Chris Godwin helped Tampa Bay win its second Super Bowl in franchise history, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told his star wideout and pending free agent this: "Your a-- ain't going nowhere."

Of course, Arians would love to keep Godwin in Tampa for the long-term. He'll only be 25 years old when the 2021 season starts and has been one of the best receivers in football over the past two seasons. But, the Bucs have several players from their title team that they'd like to retain, and the reality is Tampa Bay can't keep everyone.

If Godwin does hit the open market, the Washington Football Team should sprint to the phone lines to call the wideout's agent about a possible deal in the nation's capital.

Washington's need to find another playmaking wide receiver to pair opposite of emerging star Terry McLaurin is obvious. It was a major need last offseason, too, which is why Ron Rivera offered Cowboys star Amari Cooper a nine-figure check within the head coach's first three months on the job.

Despite winning a division title, Washington's cry for another standout pass-catcher is just as loud as it was 365 days ago. It's another reason why the Burgundy and Gold should also be in the Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson sweepstakes this March, too. There are several good wideouts available in free agency this spring, but none are better than those three listed above. 

 

Of those three Pro Bowl wideouts listed above, though, Godwin might be the best option for Washington.

For starters, Godwin is the youngest of the three. Robinson and Golladay will each turn 28 either before or during the 2021 season, while the Buccaneers star turns 25 later this month. Those three years in age gap could make a huge difference, especially considering the length of the contract each player will likely get.

Godwin's versatility, a pass-catcher with the skillset able to play both outside and in the slot, would be a major boost to Washington's offense. This past season, Godwin played 519 snaps lined up in the slot and 357 snaps out wide for Tampa, per Pro Football Focus. In 2019, Godwin's splits between snaps in the slot versus out wide was practically even.

The wideout's production over those two seasons? 151 receptions, 2,173 yards and 16 touchdowns. 

Godwin has the ability to beat defenders both over the middle and on the outside, a trait that makes him one of the most complete wide receivers in the sport. In fact, Godwin finished the 2019 season with the highest Pro Football Focus grade of any wideout in the NFL.

The combination of injuries and the addition of Antonio Brown in Tampa to an already stacked receiver room slowed Godwin down a tad in 2020, but the former Penn State star is more than capable of being a legit No.1 option. Even though he missed four games, Godwin still finished with 840 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season.

During Tampa Bay's playoff run, Godwin was criticized for dropping multiple passes, particularly against Green Bay in the conference championship. However, it's worth noting the wideout was playing with a broken finger (one he needed to have pins surgically placed into), which certainly contributed to such. Godwin doesn't have bad hands at all; the wideout only dropped four total passes over his first three seasons.

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In Washington, Godwin and McLaurin could both thrive, similarly to how he and Mike Evans did so for Tampa Bay in 2019. Washington's receiver room is not nearly as talented as Tampa's, meaning Godwin would almost surely guarantee himself double-digit targets on a weekly basis with the Football Team.

There's no guarantee Godwin does hit the open market. Tampa Bay has until the new league year to sign Godwin to a long-term extension and can even franchise tag him if the two sides can't come to an agreement.

 

However, if Godwin does become a free agent, Washington should certainly be right in the mix to sign him. Ron Rivera offered over $100 million to Amari Cooper this past offseason, meaning the head coach should have no hesitations offering a similar deal to a better receiver in Godwin one year later, especially when there's still a massive need at the position.

Other Free Agent Targets:

Kenny Golladay

Allen Robinson

Safeties 

Lavonte David

Russell Okung

2 QB options