Buccaneers, Mike Evans Agree To Deal

MARCH 5, 11:24am: The upfront payout will be critical for Evans, because this contract will carry a base value of $41MM, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicates. Of that $41MM, $29MM is fully guaranteed. The contract guarantees Evans $6MM of his 2025 salary at signing and an additional $6MM comes in the form of an injury guarantee. The other $6MM of Evans’ 2025 money is nonguaranteed.

This still represents a nice third contract for Evans, though it is interesting, given the drama that came when Evans set a hard negotiating deadline late last summer, it was enough to keep him off the market.

MARCH 4, 9:35pm: We’ve got some more details on Evans’ new deal with the Buccaneers. Greg Auman of FOX Sports says the $52MM total represents the maximum value, meaning the receiver will likely have to earn a chunk of that money via incentives. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jenna Laine passes along that Evans will earn $29MM of his $35MM guarantee in the first year of the two-year pact.

8:15am: Instead of testing the market next week, Mike Evans will remain in Tampa Bay on a new pact. The veteran wideout has agreed to a two-year Buccaneers contract, per his agents (via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network).

ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the contract is worth $52MM and includes $35MM guaranteed. Evans had been linked to an asking price of $25MM per season, and he has managed to land it without needing to reach free agency. Projected to be one of the top available wideouts on the market, he will now be able to continue his decorated Bucs tenure for an 11th and 12th season.

As Garafolo notes, Tampa Bay’s urgency to get a deal hammered out picked up in recent days, with the franchise tag deadline and the start of free agency not far away (video link). The team still has agreements with quarterback Baker Mayfield and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to work out, but one major piece of business has now been taken care of.

Evans was expected to at least gauge his market next week once the new league year began. That update came as little surprise given the gap which continued to exist between team and player during negotiations, something which dated back to last summer. Talks were shut down once the 2023 campaign started, and signs pointed to the five-time Pro Bowler facing the possibility of heading elsewhere. Now, though, he has secured one of the most lucrative WR pacts in the league in terms of annual average value while remaining in place.

This $26MM-per-year agreement will slot Evans behind only Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp in terms of AAV. The short-term nature of the pact will help Tampa Bay aim to keep its offensive core in place for the time being while preventing a lucrative investment deep into Evans’ 30s. The uber-consistent producer is entering his age-31 season, but his ability to continue delivering 1,000-yard seasons (as well as his chemistry with Mayfield) should make this a relatively safe proposition for the Bucs.

The Texas A&M product recorded 1,255 yards in 2023, Mayfield’s first in Tampa Bay. That figure was his highest since 2018, and – coupled with a league-leading 13 touchdown receptions – it no doubt helped boost his value on a third contract. Evans landed a five-year, $82.5MM pact in 2018, and he has to no surprise secured a much larger AAV on his latest deal given the receiver market’s jump in value and the length of this new contract. The 2018 deal included only $3MM more in guaranteed money at the time of signing, so today’s news is certainly a success from his perspective.

Schefter notes the Chiefs were expected to be among the suitors for Evans if he had reached the open market. A number of other teams would have been interested as well, though few serious suitors likely would have had the means of reaching his asking price if he had landed a similar or more valuable contract than this latest Bucs one. The list of high-end wideouts set to reach free agency next week has now been notably shortened.

Tampa Bay’s offense lost coordinator Dave Canales this offseason when he took the Panthers’ head coaching gig. While the unit will face questions related to its ability to replicate Canales’ success, having Evans in the fold will give the Buccaneers a familiar and consistent option in the passing game. The team can now turn its attention to getting a Mayfield deal on the books before the new league year begins in a bid to keep his partnership with Evans intact moving forward.

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