Chris Godwin's ACL Injury Will End His Season And Impact the Free Agent WR Market

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Chris Godwin’s ACL Injury Will End His Season And Impact the Free Agent WR Market

Chicago Bears

The next time you think about why a player doesn’t want to play on the Franchise Tag, please think of Chris Godwin.

This is a textbook example why players don’t like doing it:

Check it at the door if you ever find yourself feeling upset about a player taking the tag. NFL careers are short, and players – you know, the ones we tune in to watch on a weekly basis – should be more-than-fairly compensated for their efforts. Godwin’s injury is a reminder why I root for players to get what they can while they can.

Godwin will miss the rest of the 2021 season because of an ACL injury that went down in the Buccaneers’ loss to the Saints on Sunday. The 25-year-old receiver was a Pro Bowler in 2019 and was in the midst of his second 1,100-yard receiving season in three years. But more than that, Godwin was setting himself up for a nice pay day despite playing this season on the Franchise Tag. Instead, now we look at a hazy future for him (and the receiver market).

Considering the Bears’ needs, it is important that we keep an eye on the receivers hitting free agency. Even with the injury, Godwin will be someone to keep in mind should the Buccaneers opt to not give him a second tag and guarantee him north of $19 million. In addition to having 1,000-yard receiving campaigns in three seasons, Godwin has four consecutive years with at least 5 touchdown receptions. The Penn State product also has four consecutive years with at least 840 receiving yards. So, in other words, a healthy Godwin has a high floor and high ceiling. However, that injury status figures to linger this offseason.

It’s too early for me to gauge risk assessment when it comes to a potential pursuit of a possible free-agent-to-be. Especially one who won’t be fully healthy by the time the 2022 season starts. And yet, I’m writing this to make it a point that we should be open to the many avenues that await this offseason.

For the Bears, perhaps there is a possible value play here for a receiver who could use the 2022 season to re-establish himself before re-entering the market in 2023. Or maybe there is a shorter multi-year bridge contract that could suffice. Hey, it worked with Allen Robinson II in 2018. There could be something contractually that satisfies both the short-term need, pays a player fair market value, and allows him to reach back into a market for another sizable contract. And if there is, that might be the type of target the Bears could look to snag in building an offense around Justin Fields.

But no matter where Godwin lands, I hope he does so with full health.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.