Each year, NFL players find themselves playing for their financial future and their career. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no different. On the offensive side of the ball, key players are looking for new contracts. Contracts that pay them what they feel they are worth. Ultimately, the team must make a decision ro pay these talented players in order to keep the high-powered offense alive.
The most obvious player awaiting a new contract is Chris Godwin, a stealthy weapon who can play the slot as well as the outside. Subsequently, Godwin and Mike Evans may be the best complementary duo in the league. He will command a large sum for sure, and Spotrac.com has Godwin evaluated at an average of $16.8 million a year. Still, if he puts up bigger numbers in 2020, this number could increase.
Godwin has improved in almost every statistical category each year. Overwhelming opposing defenses with his sure hands, Godwin has increased his catch percentage from 61.8% in his rookie year to 71.1% in 2019. Moreover, his number of yards per game, receptions, targets, continue to climb. If we know anything about Tom Brady, it’s this, he trusts reliable receivers. Godwin presents a target that statistically suggests he could be one of Brady’s best wide receivers yet.
If this season plays out as well as the offense looks on paper, the team is going to have to make some serious financial changes to ensure one of their best receivers stays in Tampa Bay. It will be interesting to see if the Buccaneers surpass Mike Evans’ contract, which sits at an average of $16.5 million a year for five years.
If He Walks
Finally, if the Buccaneers can not afford to keep Godwin, they seem primed with rookie Tyler Johnson. A fifth-round pick from Minnesota, Johnson could be Godwin’s replacement. Both have comparable metrics in terms of size, speed, and athleticism.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did something very smart in the draft. They continued to build depth at a strong position, with question marks in the future.
Coming out of retirement, Rob Gronkowski and the Buccaneers have said they would honor the remaining salary in the Patriots contract. Due to a staggering $9.25 million this year, Gronkowski’s future likely rides on the decision of Tom Brady. If Brady continues to play, Gronkowski will likely follow suit. This means his “contract” year is very much in flux. Ultimately he can retire or stay with Brady.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this could be one of the toughest decisions to consider moving forward. First, O.J. Howard is on the books untill the end of the 2021 season. Secondly, every tight end on the roster except for Howard and Cameron Brate are free agents after 2020. They will all have the ability to seek employment elsewhere which would cause the Buccaneers’ tight end group to be seriously gutted. Especially if Gronkowski decides to hang up his cleats. It is important to understand how important it is to have such a strong tight end group. Notably, Anthony Baamonde, a fellow writer from BucsReport.com, talked briefly about this in his article “The Buccaneers Hold A High Spot In Tight End Rankings”. Where he reacts to the Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranking of tight end groups.
The last time Gronkowski hit the field, he finished the season at a PFF rating of 75.2. The only time in his career outside his rookie season he did not finish in the 90s. If he is feeling healthy, and has had some time to recover, he may very well find himself earning a rating a superstar rating once again. Especially with Tom Brady at quarterback again.
If O.J. Howard does not get utilized to the best of his talents, and emerge as a game-changing player, the Buccaneers will need to really think about retaining Gronkowski. This season will be an interesting contract year for Gronkowski indeed.
If He Walks
Hanging up the cleats is not out of the realm of possibilities for Gronkowski. After all, if the Buccaneers win it all, he may decide his body has had enough. Additionally, if Tampa Bay wins the Super Bowl, he may feel that he aided Brady in obtaining his goal of winning without Bill Belichick, and call it a day. If this is the case, the Buccaneers must focus on retaining other talents in the tight end room, along with Chris Godwin.
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