Bucs’ Mike Evans Sends Message on Future

Mike Evans

Getty Mike Evans wants to stay in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans wants to finish where he started but recognizes that it may be beyond his control.

Evans, 29, enters the final year of his five-year, $82.5 million contract, and negotiations haven’t resulted in a new deal. The Bucs drafted Evans in 2014, and the longtime star becomes a free agent if no deal gets done.

“Of course, I’d love to finish my career here,” Evans said via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday, July 30. “There’s really nothing I can do about it. I’m not going to stay home and make a big deal about it. So, I’m just out here working as hard as I can.

“That’s what I’m doing. I’m here. I’ve always loved being here, and obviously I want to stay here and I’m sure they want to keep me. But it’s a business,” Evans added.

Evans’ agent, Deryk Gilmore said as much before training camp via Stroud in an earlier interview. Gilmore emphasized openness between both sides for the deal.

“I know the feeling is mutual,” Gilmore told Stroud. “I’ve got to think they would like to lock him up to a third deal.”

Bucs Have Sufficient Money to Pay Mike Evans

Tampa Bay will have a projected $27.22 million in salary cap space next year. The Bucs absorbed all of retired quarterback Tom Brady‘s $35 million dead cap hit, which helped the team going forward.

Fellow Bucs star receiver Chris Godwin, 27, signed a three-year, $60 million deal in 2022, and he doesn’t match Evans’ prowess on the field. Evans has an NFL record nine-consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to start his career.

Despite Evans’ historical success, he ranks 14th among receivers league wide for pay. Spotrac projects that Evans could command $22.9 million annually or a four-year, $91.85 million contract.

How things play out could hinge on how the Bucs do in September and beyond. Last year’s team went 8-9 with Brady, and this year’s squad has Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask throwing the ball.

Mike Evans Confident in Bucs Improving

Evans has been linked to trade rumors if things go south for the Bucs. However, Evans has confidence that either Mayfield or Trask could get the job done.

“Kyle’s improved a lot,” Evans told KPRC 2 Houston’s Ari Alexander in June. “I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen from Baker. Whoever the quarterback will be, I’m positive they’re going to make the right choice and we’re going to win some games.”

As for new Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales, Evans sees things trending in the right direction for the offense. The Bucs struggled in 2022 with just 18.4 points per game.

“I feel great. We’re throwing the ball all over the field,” Evans said via Stroud. “I love what Dave has got going for us. It’s hard to double-team when you’re all over them. That’s what I love. I look forward to this year.”

On Sunday, Evans looked as good as ever, catching a touchdown pass from third-string quarterback John Wolford during a red zone drill, per Buccaners.com’s Scott Smith.

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