The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be getting Chris Godwin back from his ACL injury much sooner than anticipated. Tampa Bay is hopeful he can return to the field for a Week 1 showdown with the Dallas Cowboys — per ESPN (via Joe Bucs Fan) — just 10 months removed from ACL surgery that ended his 2021 season.
Tampa Bay won’t rush Godwin back into the fold, as the ACL does require significant time to heal before it’s 100%. The Buccaneers will see how Godwin progresses in the coming months before making that call, as the franchise remains hopeful Godwin will be cleared to practice during training camp.
If Godwin does return by Week 1, Tampa Bay would be getting a significant piece of its offense back. Godwin has averaged 81.9 receiving yards per game since the start of the 2019 season, which is fourth in the NFL. His 53 catches of 20-plus yards since the start of 2019 are third in the league, and his 1,443 yards after the catch are fourth in the NFL. One of the best slot receivers in the game, Godwin has 152 catches (fifth in NFL), 2,082 yards (fourth), and 11 touchdowns (tied for eighth) from the slot over the past three years — despite missing nine games with injuries.
In 2021, Godwin finished with 98 catches for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns in just 14 games, his second 1,000-yard season in three years. Godwin’s seven receptions per game in 2021 were third in the NFL, while his 78.8 receiving yards per game were seventh in the league.
The Buccaneers have Mike Evans and Russell Gage as their top two wide receivers until Godwin returns, so they can afford to be patient. If Godwin is targeted for a Week 1 return, that’s a good sign that Tampa Bay is expecting him back sooner rather than later.