As he prepares to play in his first NFC Championship game, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin might also be donning the pewter helmet for the final time, set to hit unrestricted free agency, but should the NY Giants make a run at the young star?
The worst kept secret for the NY Giants is that they desperately need playmakers.
It was never so abundantly clear as when general manager Dave Gettleman made it his biggest priority in his end of season press conference.
“At the end of the day, we need to find playmakers,’’ exclaimed Gettleman. “That’s all there is to it. I’m not sugarcoating it .. We have to be very conscious of it. We’re going to find the right guys to help Daniel get us over that hump.’’
While many focus on Chicago’s Allen Robinson and Detroit’s Kenny Golladay, Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin should also be high up on the Giants’ radar this off-season.
Godwin entered the league in 2017, and after being buried in the depth chart his rookie year, he took off his sophomore season. Since then, he’s been one of the most consistent performers on the team – posting at least 800 yards and 7 touchdowns the last three seasons.
His 2019 season was the one where we really learned that Godwin can be a top receiver in the NFL. He finished third in receiving yards with 1333 yards, and two behind the NFL lead in touchdowns with 9.
While dealing with a multitude of different injuries this past season, including a concussion, a hamstring injury and a fractured finger that required surgery, he still managed to finish the season with 843 yards and 7 touchdowns. That’s more yards or touchdowns than any Giants’ receiver accumulated this past season.
The former third round pick would immediately become the Giants’ number one wide receiver.
Godwin entering the receiving room currently featuring Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Dante Pettis and Austin Mack would upgrade the room as a whole – giving them the play-maker Gettleman speaks of.
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The first hurdle to clear is to hope that Godwin actually makes it to free agency. Despite being an unrestricted free agent, he’s expressed an interest to stay with the Buccaneers, saying “I definitely want to be here. There’s interest on both sides and we’ll see how it plays out.”
The Buccaneers have a lot of mouths to feed, especially if they plan on keeping controversial receiver, Antonio Brown, next season. With Tom Brady as their quarterback though, the team understands their window is now, which might be enough for them to franchise tag Godwin as well.
Still, the Giants’ decision makers should be looking close at Godwin as he enters Lambeau Field for the NFC Championship Game. He has the tools to be one of the best receivers in the league, and if the Giants are sold on Daniel Jones, Godwin could be his Plaxico Burress.
Perhaps the person who knows Godwin the best on the Giants is their best player, running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley and Godwin were teammates at Penn State, each showing out for the Nittany Lions. After a game against the Buccaneers his rookie season, Barkley spoke glowingly of Godwin.
"“Chris Godwin is one of my personal favorite teammates of all-time. Just the way he carries himself, he’s just a genuine, genuine guy .. One of the first people in and one of the last to leave every day, and I imagine he’s doing the same exact thing in Tampa,” Barkley said. “That’s what I’ve learned from him and that helped me take on Penn State and then all the way through to the NFL. He’s helped me tremendously as a role model .. When you have a good day on the field, you might think even more about the people who got you here, and Chris Godwin is one of those guys.”"
Reuniting the two play-makers in Giants’ blue would help the team’s offense improve immensely. Godwin (24) and Barkley (23) each have their best years ahead of them, and entering their primes together in New York would certainly be something special.
No matter what happens in the NFC Championship Game this Sunday, Chris Godwin should go on to be one of the league’s premier receivers for years to come. If he does make it to free agency this offseason, he’d look nice doing it for the Giants.