The 2022 free-agent class will feature a robust group of wide receivers available, which includes 25-year-old Chris Godwin.
Godwin entered last offseason as a free agent and was signed to a one-year deal to return with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the franchise tag.
His 2021 season ended after Week 15 when he tore his ACL — which will surely be something to take into consideration for any team looking to sign him.
However, Godwin has emerged as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL over the last three seasons and would be an asset to any offense once he is fully healthy.
Here’s a look at the teams that would make sense for Godwin:
The Odell Beckham Jr. experiment did not quite work out, but the Browns could still use some help in their receiving corps and are expected to have money to spend in free agency, with a projected $37 million in cap space, per Over the Cap.
Godwin could be everything Beckham was not in Cleveland. He has the versatility to play the slot or the outside and would easily be the No. 1 option ahead of Jarvis Landry and Donovan Peoples-Jones. If the Browns are really sticking with Baker Mayfield, surrounding him with weapons will be vital and Godwin has a proven track record to fit that bill.
The Steelers may be looking at a total overhaul of their offense this offseason. Ben Roethlisberger is likely retiring and JuJu Smith-Schuster is also a free agent and Pittsburgh could choose to move on.
With Diontae Johnson is coming off his first 1,000-yard receiving season, the addition of Godwin would give them a dynamic duo similar to that of what he had with Mike Evans in Tampa. The Steelers have arguably lacked a true No. 1 receiving threat since Antonio Brown left and Godwin could certainly fill those shoes. Pairing him and Johnson in the same offense should also be a boost to whoever is quarterback for the Steelers next season.
There is a lot on the Bears' to-do list this offseason, with finding a GM and head coach first in order. Their top priority in free agency and the draft will likely be to find protection for Justin Fields, who was sacked 36 times in 12 games this year.
But finding Fields weapons in the offense will also be a priority, too. Allen Robinson is coming off a disappointing season and is set to hit free agency, but Godwin could be the better investment. Despite the ACL injury, Godwin is three years younger than Robinson and still had a successful 2021 campaign. Pairing Godwin with Darnell Mooney in the receiving corps, along with tight end Cole Kmet, could give Fields the weapons he needs — so long as he has the protection.
The Jaguars are projected to have $60 million in cap space this offseason and the team should spend as much resources as possible in surrounding Trevor Lawrence with weapons and building a dominant offense.
Sure, Jacksonville has plenty of young receivers with high upside such as Laviska Shenault and DJ Chark (who is a pending free agent), but Godwin would be a significant upgrade over both of them and would serve as a step in the right direction for a Jaguars team that desperately needs to turn things around.
New England Patriots
After last year's spending spree, the Patriots will not have as much cap space to go crazy in free agency this year, but don't count them out on a player like Godwin just yet.
The Patriots are in clear need of upgrading their pass-catching options for Mac Jones with not a single receiver on the roster accumulating 1,000 yards. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler recently floated that New England could potentially eye Godwin to bolster its offense and suggested making room for him by cutting someone, such as Nelson Agholor (who had just 473 receiving yards in 2021). He would cost $10 million in dead money but save $5 million in cap room.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Of course, when it is all said and done, the Bucs could choose to sign Godwin to a long-term deal and keep him in Tampa. The Bucs could also use the franchise tag again on Godwin, but the team is going to have 27 pending free agents.
Re-signing Godwin will not be easy, however. He will want to get paid like a No. 1 receiver and Evans is still on his $55 million contract through 2023. There are plenty of ways to structure Godwin's contract to make it work with the cap space, but it also may entail the Bucs losing another key piece, someone like a Jason Pierre-Paul, who is also a free agent. It remains to be seen if that is what the Bucs are willing to do, but there is no question the team is better with Godwin than without him.