Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians saw his team overcome the odds to win the second Super Bowl trophy in franchise history.
Now comes what might be even the more difficult part for the Bucs — retaining their stars in a bid to repeat as champion.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin, who made a base salary of $2.1 million in 2020, is one of the several standouts slated to hit free agency in a month. He could receive the franchise tag to remain with the Buccaneers and play alongside fellow wideout Mike Evans, who will make $12.25 million in base salary in 2021.
“(Godwin) loves it here,” Arians said Thursday on 95.3 WDAE Radio. “It’s hard to leave and go to another system just for money. But it’s not bad paying two No. 1 receivers, that’s for sure, when they’re as good as our two No. 1s.”
The Bucs will have slightly more money at their disposal after the NFL raised the salary cap floor to $180 million on Thursday.
“It’s usually the money … if it’s close, I think our guys really want to stay,” Arians said. “They know they have something special. I don’t think any of them want to leave. I don’t get involved in the dollars. I just let them know we want them back.”
Godwin, who turns 25 next week, recorded 65 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games last season. His numbers took a dip after his breakout Pro Bowl season campaign in 2019, during which he posted career-high totals in receptions (86), receiving yards (1,333) and touchdowns (nine).
Wide receiver Antonio Brown, running back Leonard Fournette, tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebackers Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David, and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh are all free agents.