Patriots lose potential WR target due to questionable move by Buccaneers

The New England Patriots tried to replenish their feeble wide receiver corps last offseason and mostly received mixed results.

While signing Kendrick Bourne proved to be one of the best moves of free agency, Nelson Agholor’s two-year, $22 million contract is an albatross and the latest buzz indicates the veteran could get dumped this offseason.

Luckily for the Patriots, the free agent market is loaded with players who could step in and assume No. 1 duties. The trade market could even prove to be a potential resource, but Calvin Ridley’s gambling-induced suspension takes perhaps the most compelling name off the board.

Speaking of losing out on wide receivers, the Patriots — and 30 other teams in the NFL, for that matter — are no longer in the running for Chris Godwin. Just hours before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. franchise tag deadline, the Buccaneers hit Godwin with the tag for the second consecutive offseason.

Chris Godwin will not be signing with the Patriots this offseason.

It’s worth noting Godwin getting tagged isn’t entirely official. Per reports, the 26-year-old star and the Buccaneers are still trying to hammer out a long-term extension. They’ve been negotiating around the clock for the last 24 hours, If nothing’s agreed by 4 p.m., then Godwin will get the franchise tag.

Regardless, though, Godwin will return to Tampa Bay for a sixth season.

It’s a questionable move from the Bucs, as Godwin getting tagged for the second consecutive year means he’s in line for a 20% raise over last year’s rate. After making $15.98 million last season, Godwin will pocket $19 million fully guaranteed under the tag in 2022, assuming he doesn’t sign an extension in time.

While you could argue it was wise of Tampa Bay to not make a long-term commitment to a player coming off a torn ACL, the fact Godwin will be on the books for $19 million when the Bucs are short on cap space makes very little sense given his injury.

In other words, the Bucs royally botched the opportunity to sign him at a discount. Assuming Godwin rebounds from the injury, his camp will almost certainly set a baseline of $19 million for negotiations next offseason.

And what happens if Godwin struggles getting back to full-strength? That $19 million is fully guaranteed. There’s no way out of it. Whether he plays 17 games or 10 games, he’s getting that $19 million regardless. Imagine he suffers a setback or isn’t as productive as he was before the injury?

You’re talking about millions of dollars going down the drain.

It definitely stings that the Patriots won’t be able to make a run at Godwin, but at least we can laugh at the Bucs for their handling of the situation, right? Maybe they shouldn’t have waited until Monday to negotiate an extension.