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Chris Godwin: I’m not going to be miserable for a couple extra dollars

The receiver says the Bucs have something special going, but he would prefer not to get the franchise tag.
Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) is brought down by Atlanta Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen (37) during a game against the Atlanta Falcons in January at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) is brought down by Atlanta Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen (37) during a game against the Atlanta Falcons in January at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Feb. 23
Updated Feb. 23

TAMPA — Chris Godwin would prefer a long-term extension over the franchise player tag, but the Bucs’ receiver says he wouldn’t choose a poor situation for “a few extra dollars.”

Godwin, who is set to become a free agent when the new league year begins in March, would earn $16.43 million on a one-year deal if he signs the franchise tender, according to Overthecap.com.

But he made it clear Tuesday that while he’s intrigued by becoming a free agent, he would prefer to remain in Tampa Bay.

“I want to be here,” Godwin told the Pat McAfee Show. “I love the guys on the team. I think we’ve got something special, but, at the same time you’ve got to consider all the possibilities out there and consider doing what’s best for you and your family. ... The goal, obviously, is to get paid, right? But, at the same time, I’m not stupid. I’m not going to put myself in a situation where I’m going to be miserable for some years to come just for a couple extra dollars. I think my happiness is paramount in all of this, and part of that happiness is winning.”

The Bucs have a lot of free agents they would like to re-sign from the 2020 team that defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. They include outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, inside linebacker Lavonte David, tight end Rob Gronkowski, placekicker Ryan Succop, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Antonio Brown.

Barrett played under the franchise player tag of $15.8 million in 2021 after leading the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019. It’s unlikely he would be very receptive to receiving that designation again.

Godwin’s production dropped from his Pro Bowl season of 2019, when he led the Bucs with 1,333 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Missing four games with an assortment of injuries, Godwin finished with 840 yards receiving and seven touchdowns.

Tuesday is the first day NFL teams can apply franchise and transition player tags to their own potential free agents. The franchise tag guarantees a player the average salary of the top five players at their position. The transition tag guarantees a player the average salary of the top 10 players at their position.

Either way, Godwin knows he’s in line for a big pay day.

“Hey, that’s the damn goal,” Godwin said. “You know what I mean? It’s to get paid and being able to take care of my family. An extension would be ideal. I want to be in Tampa, but I want to get paid, too.”

Godwin said he is not one to count on money he doesn’t have. He said he will allow his agents to attempt to reach the best deal possible. The Bucs and other teams have until March 9 to assign the franchise or transition tag.

“I’ve got some great agents and I’m going to allow them to go to work and go to bat for me and trust the fact that we know where my value is and we’re going to push toward that end, because you don’t want to sell yourself short.

“As hard as it may be to turn down the most money that I’ve seen in my lifetime, beyond whatever I’ve ever thought about seeing, but you’ve got to trust people you hire to do their job.”