It’s a common staple for NFL teams to have top receivers that at least top 1,000 yards in a season. Mike Evans fulfilled that role for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 season. What’s unusual is how his durability translated to his longevity topping the mark all seven seasons here. Evans is the only player in the NFL to start his career that way. It’s not something Randy Moss, Julio Jones, or Jerry Rice even accomplished with their hall of fame careers. Let’s dig deeper on why Evans’ accomplishments stand out not only in the league but also in the franchise.
Buccaneers Offense History
We can all agree the league is pass-heavy and the franchise’s decisions reflected upon that. The current quarterback franchise record holder is Jameis Winston with 19,737 yards and 121 touchdowns. His successor is Tom Brady, the owner of probably 95 percent of passing records in league history, will likely never be touched. Evans is the beneficiary of the Winston and the current Brady era. Brady’s 21-year career alone at 79,204 yards is more than every other Bucs’ QB who ever surpassed 10,000 yards with the team. That’s more than Winston, Vinny Testaverde, Josh Freeman, Trent Dilfer, Doug Williams, and Brad Johnson combined.
If you look at all 76 players who ever hurled a pass for the team, only six passed the 10,000-yard mark over its 45-year history. If you compare this to the other team also introduced in 1976 in the Seattle Seahawks, their top four QBs in Russell Wilson, Matt Hasselbeck, Dave Krieg, and Jim Zorn combined for 109,644 passing yards. The aforementioned all surpassed 20,000 career passing yards each with the team. I hope this puts some context to Evans’ production that if he played under any previous Bucs QB, I highly doubt he could have sustained those numbers especially when the team was historically defined as a running and opportunistic defensive team.
In further context for naysayers who downplay Evans’ achievements with the team, Mark Carrier, who is no. 2 in the receiving list was Testaverde’s no. 1 receiver at 5,018 yards. Kevin House is no. 3 at 4,928. Carrier only surpassed 1,000 yards twice in his career and his second time was in 1995 with the Carolina Panthers. House also only had two seasons where he surpassed 1,000 yards.