According to a report by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, contract extension negotiations between star receiver Mike Evans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stalled. Causing Evans and his camp to give the Bucs a deadline of Sept. 9 for the two sides to come to an agreement.
Evans hasn’t held out or anything, similar to other players in his shoes. But know he’s reportedly asking for a deal “similar to the three-year, $80.1 million contract signed by Rams receiver Cooper Kupp that included $75 million guaranteed and a $20 million signing bonus.”
I don’t know how realistic that request is for a 30-year-old wideout. Especially on a team with an unsettled QB room moving forward and a roster in dire need of an infusion of youth (hence, the decision to include 13 rookies on their 53 man roster), but his production speaks for itself, and he’s been an incredibly unselfish pro for the Bucs.
Now, the former Texas A&M man is looking out for himself. My question is: What took him so long?
It seemed like these talks began months and months ago, and nothing ever happened. I know Evans is incredibly well-respected and well-liked. He seems to enjoy being a Buccaneer, and the feeling is mutual. But this was a long time for nothing to happen.
Finally, Evans has apparently had enough. The Buccaneers are cash-strapped to say the least, moving forward, and this development could be a direct result of their problems with the salary cap.
Moving forward, what do the Buccaneers do if they can’t reach an agreement?
It’s obvious to anyone paying attention that this team isn’t going to be competing for a Super Bowl any time soon. But Tampa Bay plays in the worst division in football and it’s not completely stupid to think the Bucs could make a playoff push and try to win a third straight NFC South title—something that hasn’t been done in franchise history.
So, assuming things go relatively well to start the season and the Bucs are in the thick of things in the NFC South, even if Evans is only under contract for this year, it’d be safe to say the Bucs would be better off holding onto the veteran and letting him play out one last season at Raymond James Stadium.
But, as well as things could go for the Bucs, they could just as easily go south. Baker Mayfield could come out and struggle as quarterback, the offensive line could continue their putrid play without center Ryan Jensen. The defense could get banged up, and the lack of depth could be exposed. If those things come to fruition, should the Bucs explore dealing the perennial Pro Bowler?
I don’t know how they don’t. The list of teams who could use Mike Evans’ services is long, and the idea of trading for an expiring contract to help with your Super Bowl push is very enticing. The Bucs won’t get a Day 1 pick out of it, but they could very easily snag a 3rd rounder, a valuable piece of draft capital that can help their assumed rebuild.
This isn’t good news, and no one knows for sure what’s going to come out of this development, but the Bucs need to make a decision by midseason.