Jets Warned to Avoid $82.5 Million Veteran in Free Agency: ‘Risky’

Mike Evans, Bucs

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans reacting in the middle of an NFL game.

The New York Jets are going to add more pass-catching talent this offseason. It isn’t a question of if but rather who.

According to Alex Kay of Bleacher Report, one player they should avoid during free agency is Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans.

“Mike Evans is one of the greatest receivers of his generation and remained an elite contributor during his age 30 season, but the savvy veteran could quickly start losing the battle against Father Time,” Kay explained in a column posted on Monday, January 15.

Despite some impressive statistics Kay said “tiny cracks have been showing in the foundation” for Evans.

Evans is in the last year of his $82.5 million contract. The veteran wideout is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Evans Had a Rough Showing in the Bucs-Eagles Playoff Game

The former Texas A&M standout had a pedestrian showing against Philadelphia on Super Wildcard Weekend. Evans finished with three receptions for 48 receiving yards, but he left a ton of meat on the bone.

One fan on X previously Twitter wrote, “Mike Evans will make some of the most unbelievable catches you’ll ever see but some of the worst drops as well.”

Despite a bad day at the office on the whole Evans has been spectacular this season. He finished the regular season with 79 receptions for 1,255 receiving yards and 13 receiving touchdowns. That TD total was tied for the league lead this season.

Kay said betting that Evans will be able to keep those numbers going through his next contract is a “risky endeavor.”

A Proven Veteran Addition Would Take Pressure off Jets WR Garrett Wilson

According to Spotrac, Evans is due for a big-time pay raise in free agency. His current contract paid him $16.5 million on average. That makes him the No. 14 highest-paid wide receiver in football, per Over The Cap.

Evans is projected to receive a deal that pays him $23.8 million per year on the open market. That would make him tied as the No. 6 highest-paid wideout in the NFL.

That is a lot of dough for a player who is 30 years of age. He will turn 31 ahead of the 2024 season. In all 10 of his seasons in the pros, Evans has registered at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of those years.

In addition to his consistency from a receiving yardage perspective, he also has consistently scored touchdowns. Evans’ 94 receiving TDs are the No. 13 most in NFL history.

The benefit of having an older player on the roster is you know what you’re getting. Evans’ resume speaks for itself. If the Jets added him to the wide receiver rotation he would immediately command attention from opposing defenses.

That should alleviate some of the pressure on Garrett Wilson who has been relied upon far too often in this offense without much help.

There are legitimate questions about how much gas Evans has left in the tank at his age and considering the wear and tear on his body. However, you could come to the same conclusions about Aaron Rodgers at 40 years of age coming off of a torn Achilles.

A move like signing Evans will truly test how all in the Jets are heading into 2024.

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