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NFL

The Buccaneers’ star WR Chris Godwin likely to miss start of next NFL season

The franchise has shown an immense amount of faith in the WR by signing him even though he was unable to play, but now he needs to return from injury.

Paul Rudder
Update:
The Buccaneers’ star WR Chris Godwin likely to miss start of next NFL season
Getty Images

Though the Bucs were most definitely boosted by the return of legendary QB Tom Brady, both the playmaker and the team could potential have to face the start of the new season without him.

Buccaneers’ Chris Godwin could miss start of new NFL season

Though injured at the time of signing, Chris Godwin put pen to paper on a three-year contract worth $60 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this off-season. Godwin sustained an ACL tear in 2021 that has left him on the road to recovery since with the clear understanding that it was not likely he would be ready for the start of the 2022-23 NFL regular season. That being said it’s clear that the Bucs had faith in the wide-out as they were more than happy to guarantee him $20 million per year even though he continues to go through rehabilitation following an operation on his knee.

The Buccaneers remain coy on Chris Godwin’s return

Though the obvious question is ‘when will Godwin be ready?’, the Buccaneers have thus far been reluctant to give any official word on when Godwin will return and more importantly how he will be integrated in to the team when he finally does. Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles would not even clarify whether or not the talented wide receiver would be good to go before training camp begins in July. “When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. We don’t put a timetable on it,” Bowles said at Buccaneers minicamp Tuesday. “He’s coming along. Obviously, he’s better than where he was. But, he’s not where he needs to be. He’s coming along – he works hard.” Bowles went on to add that at present there are no objectives being set for Godwin in his recovery, simply that an objective will be completed when he “gets back on the field.” If there is one thing that is assured, when Godwin finally does return, Tom Brady will be more than happy.

Chris Godwin by the numbers

Taking a look at Godwin’s performance since the start of the 2019 season, it doesn’t take long to understand why he is and most likely will be one of Brady’s most dangerous pass catchers. With an average of 81.9 receiving yards per game since that time, the wide out is fourth in the NFL. Indeed, there is also his 53 catches of 20-plus yards since the start of 2019 as well, which are third in the league and last but not least his 1,443 yards after the catch are fourth in the league. One of the best slot receivers in the game, Godwin has 152 catches (5th), 2,082 yards (4th), and 11 touchdowns (tied for 8th) from the slot for the last three consecutive years. These numbers are all in spite of him having missed nine games through injury.

Not surprisingly it doesn’t end there. Godwin finished with 98 catches for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns in just 14 games last year, which was his second 1,000-yard season in three years. The 26 year old’s seven receptions per game in 2021 were also third in the NFL along with his 78.8 receiving yards per game, which were seventh.

How will the Buccaneers cope without Chris Godwin?

As mentioned before this is actually not a sudden development. That’s to say that the Bucs have actually got cover - they signed Russell Gage - and as such can afford to be patient as they wait for Godwin to take the field once again. Additionally they also have Mike Evans as the No. 1 wide receiver, meaning they not only have options, but good ones. Now it’s simply a matter of working with the likes of Cyril Grayson and Tyler Johnson during camp, while they prepare for the return of their star receiver and the likely challenge that they will make for the Super Bowl when he gets the green light.

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