On Tuesday, the Buccaneers announced that Brady will wear No. 12 for the 2020 season, his first with the franchise. Brady accepted receiver Chris Godwin’s offer to switch numbers. Godwin, a Pro Bowler for the first time in 2019, will switch to No. 14 for the 2020 season. Godwin told the team’s website that there no transaction took place between himself and Brady in exchange for the number, with Godwin expressing his respect for Brady as the reason why he wanted to give the six-time Super Bowl champion his old number.
The 24-year-old pass catcher sported the number for all three of his seasons in the NFL and dating back to his college days at Penn State. Once word got out that Brady was heading down to Florida to join forces with Godwin and the Bucs, he admitted to the official team website that he’s been asked quite a bit whether or not he’ll surrender the No. 12 to his new quarterback.
“My phone has been blowing up over the last 24 hours on Twitter, Instagram, phone calls, text messages of people just asking me that same question,” Godwin said at the time. “I think it will be very interesting whatever happens. We haven’t talked about it. We talked briefly, but hadn’t mentioned that at all. Obviously, if he doesn’t want it or isn’t making a big deal about it, I’m definitely going to keep it. But we’ll see how that goes.
“I think just out of respect for what he’s done, what he’s accomplished and just kind of the for the career he’s built for himself. You’ve got to kind of lean into that respect, you know? We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.”
This is hardly the first time that NFL players have discussed swapping numbers. Typically, if a veteran wants a specific number that is currently taken by someone on his new team, there is some sort of negotiation where he can essentially buy it. And while he didn’t ask for anything in return for giving up the No. 12, per Buccaneers team reporter Casey Phillips, Godwin feels that having the opportunity to play with arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time is all the compensation he needs.
“He just reached out to me just saying he was excited to come down and play together,” Godwin said of a recent conversation with Brady. “I echo that sentiment. Being a guy that’s watched him my whole career, getting the opportunity to play with him is a blessing and I’m going to try and take full advantage of that.”
The presence of Godwin, who caught 86 passes for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019, and fellow star receiver Mike Evans were undoubtedly key reasons why Brady elected to ink a deal with Tampa. Regardless of what number everyone is wearing, this unit promises to put up some pretty stellar numbers on the field over the next couple of years.