Evans and Tampa Bay are “very early” in the discussion process, cautions La Canfora, and that comes as no surprise given that the Buccaneers have Evans under team control for some time. In what was surely a simple decision, the Bucs exercised Evans’ 2018 fifth-year option at a cost of $13.258MM, and the club could also utilize the franchise tag to retain Evans in 2019.
The franchise tender will likely only be on the table for one season, per La Canfora, as Tampa Bay will need to use the tag as leverage in talks with quarterback Jameis Winston following the 2019 campaign. Extending both Evans and Winston shouldn’t be a financial problem for the Buccaneers, however, as the team ranks in the top-10 in projected available cap space in each of the next three years.
Evans, 24, has lived up to his draft status since being chosen with the seventh overall pick in 2014. He’s topped 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, and posted his best overall campaign in 2016, when he put up 96 receptions for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns.
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