The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a decision about Mike Evans’ future amid a standoff over a potential contract extension. Evans is heading into the final season of a five-year, $82 million contract and is seeking a lucrative new deal.
The tension recently heightened after Evans’ agent Deryk Gilmore issued a strong statement declaring a deadline of Saturday, September 9, 2023 for a potential contract extension to be reached. Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon created a few potential trade scenarios for the Buccaneers to consider in exchange for Evans. One interesting proposal has the Bucs sending Evans to the Jets in exchange for running back Michael Carter as well as a third-round draft pick.
“Along with a third-rounder, the Jets can ship reserve running back Michael Carter to Tampa,” Kenyon wrote on September 7, 2023. “Rachaad White is a quality starter, but the Bucs could use a boost at the position, and Carter is signed through 2024.
“Evans would provide a clear upgrade over Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman Jr. as Rodgers’ top target after Garrett Wilson.”
Would Trading Mike Evans to the Jets Only Be Worth Michael Carter & a Third Rounder?
The Buccaneers’ preference is clearly to find a solution to keep Evans in Tampa for the foreseeable future. Desire and reality could be two different things and by not making a trade Tampa Bay risks losing Evans for nothing in free agency next spring.
The Bucs could also use the franchise tag to keep Evans for 2024 if no new deal is reached, but this is likely to lead to more tension given the receiver is already at odds with the front office over a new contract. As evidenced by the 49ers and Nick Bosa, talk can turn tough before a new deal is ultimately signed.
Receiving a third rounder in exchange for an elite receiver is not an ideal scenario for Tampa Bay. Carter does represent an intriguing addition at just 24 years old.
The former North Carolina standout running back’s best season came his rookie year in 2021 when Carter notched 147 carries for 639 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. The playmaker also added 36 catches for 325 receiving yards this same season. Carter’s usage went down last season after the Jets drafted Breece Hall, and his touches are expected to decrease even more in 2023 following the team’s decision to sign Dalvin Cook.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rumors: Mike Evans Has ‘Strong Value on the Trade Market,’ Says Insider
Despite Evans’ agent taking a hard stance publicly, there is no indication that Tampa Bay is exploring trades for the receiver. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Buccaneers “do not want to trade Mike Evans” but added that the star possesses “strong value” around the league if the team is unable to sign the receiver to a new deal.
“In other receiver news, the Bucs do not want to trade Mike Evans. His agent, Deryk Gilmore, set a Saturday deadline for extending his contract, but Evans, a 2024 free agent, would have strong value on the trade market around the deadline, according to multiple execs I asked,” Fowler detailed on September 7.
“He just turned 30 but is still considered elite. He’s a name to watch if Saturday comes and goes without a deal. Both sides want to see Evans retire a Buccaneer, but this is a team in transition, and Tampa Bay has young core players to sign, including safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and left tackle Tristan Wirfs.
“Still, it wouldn’t surprise if Tampa Bay at least makes an effort to extend Evans, based on its precedent for taking care of team staples.”