Patriots Tabbed as Trade ‘Landing Spot’ for Disgruntled WR Mike Evans

Mike Evans of the Buccaneers could be of interest to the Patriots in a trade.

Getty Mike Evans of the Buccaneers could be of interest to the Patriots in a trade.

The Patriots will enter the 2023 NFL season with a rebuilt wide receiver corps, minus Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor, but plus JuJu Schuster-Smith and rookies Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas.

It’s not a bad unit, but it could use a big-play threat, and that’s why the Patriots spent part of the offseason playing footsie with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins before he signed with Tennessee. That means New England is sure to come up as a potential landing spot when a star receiver is potentially on the trade market.

And one potentially is: Tampa Bay veteran Mike Evans. CBS Sports, among others, sees Evans as a trade fit for the Pats, writing:

“Another layup given Bill Belichick’s history of adding proven veterans to the Patriots’ roster. It doesn’t hurt that Evans is the prototypical Belichick player: hard working, consistent, productive, team-oriented and a former Super Bowl champion to boot. Evans would be a welcomed addition to a good but not great New England receiving corps.”

Evans’ Resume Is Impeccable

Evans, is 30 years old and, unquestionably, a star receiver. He has topped 1,000 yards receiving all nine years of his career and has remained remarkably healthy in that time—he has missed only nine games. He’s made four Pro Bowls and while he benefitted from the Bucs’ addition of Tom Brady at quarterback in 2020, he put up big numbers with Jameis Winston and Colt McCoy, too.

Evans has also made clear he is not asking for a trade from Tampa. He actually wants a new contract ahead of the start of next season—in one week—and wants to remain a Buc for life. He is in the final season of his current deal.

But that doesn’t really mesh with Tampa’s attempt to clean up from the post-Brady hangover. The Bucs spent freely to bring in a roster that could (and did, in 2020) help Brady to a championship, but now have a mass of dead salary on the books and want to tighten the belts so they can get back to a rebuild.

If Patriots Contend, Evans Makes Sense

Evans does make some sense for the Patriots, especially if he is on the trade market ahead of the October 31 deadline. The Patriots have a brutal opening stretch in the weeks ahead of the deadline, with a Week 1 game against the Super Bowl runners up, the Eagles, and a Week 4 matchup in Dallas. They get AFC East rivals Buffalo, New York and Miami (twice), all of whom are certain playoff contenders.

If the Patriots emerge from the first eight weeks as a surprise contender and if Jones is playing like he did when he was a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie, a move for Evans makes sense. If the Pats are sitting at 2-6, then, well … no, thanks.

And it could be that it’s not just Evans on the block. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, fellow Bucs receiver Chris Godwin could be on the move, too. As Graziano wrote:

Moving Evans or Godwin to a contender (assuming, as we are, that the Bucs aren’t one) at the deadline would help with that project. Evans is the more movable one, because he’s making just $13 million in salary this year and is a free agent at year’s end, while Godwin has a (non-guaranteed) $20 million due in 2024. But you’ll hear these names kicked around in October for sure.

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