Saturday came and went in Tampa Bay without an extension for Mike Evans, but don’t expect the Buccaneers to move on from the wide receiver in the immediate future.
Despite the two sides failing to come to an agreement on a new deal ahead of Evans’ self-imposed deadline, Tampa Bay does not plan to move the stalwart wideout this season, NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning.
Evans is expected to garner trade interest, but the Bucs, despite not even making a contract offer to the receiver, are not inclined to move him, Garafolo added.
“Teams are gonna smell blood in the water, already circling around to see if maybe Tampa would part with Evans,” Garafolo said on NFL Network. “But I’m told in no uncertain terms that they have told all teams that we are not interested in trading Evans.”
It appears that Evans, 30, will play out the final year of his contract, his 10th season in the NFL, with the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2014.
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Earlier this month, Evans’ agent set a deadline for an extension for Saturday, telling the Bucs, “when you have a player that will be a Hall of Famer and still has four to six more years to make an impact in the league, you move Heaven and Earth to keep him on your team.”
Tampa Bay didn’t move heaven or earth but also didn’t moved Evans. Call it a wash.
The four-time Pro Bowl WR is set to count $23.7 million against the cap in 2023. Tampa Bay would carry $9.2 million in dead money this season if it traded the veteran.
Evans said earlier this week that his focus remained on the field despite his off-field demands and was looking forward to “having a great season” whether or not he got a new deal.
“Ownership and management are going to do what they feel is best for the team and the team’s future, and I’ma do what’s best for me and my future,” Evans said. “Right now, that’s just playing good ball.”
If the Bucs were to part with Evans, they’d be letting go of one of the most reliable pass catchers in recent NFL history. Evans has recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his nine NFL seasons. Having never led the league in either receptions, receiving yards or receiving touchdowns, he remains underrated for his era, but apparently not by the Bucs, who still value his presence in what is expected to be a rebuilding year.
Evans and Chris Godwin are expected to hold down the receiver corps again for the Buccaneers, who traded in seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady for former first-overall pick Baker Mayfield at quarterback. The pair’s experience should prove invaluable as Tampa Bay’s offense, coordinated by first-time OC Dave Canales, goes through expected growing pains.
If Sunday’s news is any indication, this season may be the duo’s swan song.
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