Mike Evans

NFC South Notes: Cousins, Falcons, Ramczyk, Saints, Davis, Evans, Panthers

The Falcons are under investigation for tampering during their Kirk Cousins pursuit. Cousins said during his Falcons intro presser he spoke with the team’s trainer ahead of his official signing, which would be a violation. Cousins may well have revealed another tampering violation, indicating (via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio) he offered to call Darnell Mooney to help close the Falcons’ pitch to the former Bears wide receiver. Mooney committed to the Falcons on Day 2 of the tampering period. With Cousins’ deal not yet official at that point, such recruitment on behalf of the team would be a violation as well.

None of this will result in the Falcons losing Cousins, but a fine and/or a draft choice being stripped would be in play if the team is found to have violated the tampering policy (albeit during a stretch referred to as the legal tampering period). Given the multiple issues here, the Falcons certainly run the risk of being punished.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • In a division with two of the league’s restructure mavens, the Panthers are hoping to avoid such moves under new GM Dan Morgan. The former Carolina assistant GM said (via The Athletic’s Joe Person) he will aim to avoid kicking the can down the road in the form of restructures. Teams have turned to restructures more in the 2020s, as the larger cap spikes have helped clubs manage the bigger cap hits down the road, but both the Buccaneers and Saints have needed to take some medicine at points this decade due to restructures.
  • Having said that, the Panthers did reach a restructure agreement with Shaq Thompson to both create cap space and retain their longest-tenured player. This will reduce the 10th-year linebacker’s base salary to $3.1MM and clear around $3MM in cap space, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. Headed into his age-30 season, Thompson is coming off a two-game campaign halted by a fractured fibula. He is now on the Panthers’ cap sheet at $3.19MM.
  • Ryan Ramczyk finished last season on IR due to a knee injury that he admitted bothered him for nearly the entire season. A cartilage defect in his knee also brought some ominous comments from the standout right tackle, but he is on track to play an eighth season with the Saints. Ramczyk underwent what Dennis Allen (via NOLA.com’s Matthew Paras) labeled a minor knee procedure; he is expected to be ready for training camp. Additionally, Ramczyk agreed to a reworked contract that guarantees him $6.5MM this season, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. Ramcyzk’s 2021 extension previously had no guarantees left, but it called for a $27MM 2024 cap number. This reworking brought that down to $12.9MM, and NewOrleans.football’s Mike Triplett refers to it as a significant pay cut. Ramczyk is signed through 2026, but no guarantees are due beyond 2024.
  • The Saints also brought James Hurst‘s cap number down from $6.5MM to $2.9MM, NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill tweets. Two void years are present in Hurst’s deal, but the veteran O-lineman, who has been needed to start over the past three seasons, is due for free agency in 2025.
  • New Orleans’ latest Demario Davis contract (two years, $17.25MM) will bring $13.25MM in guarantees, ESPN.com’s Katherine Terrell tweets. The team is guaranteeing $2.5MM of Davis’ $6.5MM 2025 base salary, with Terrell adding a $1.75MM roster bonus will be due next year. That roster bonus will be key in determining if Davis plays the 2025 season in New Orleans; the new deal dropped Davis’ 2024 cap hit from $18.1MM to $6.2MM.
  • Not quite as prolific as the Saints on the restructure front, the Buccaneers have been aggressive here since the Tom Brady signing. Tampa Bay has already restructured Mike Evans‘ deal, per MLFootball, with his $21.8MM roster bonus into a signing bonus. This freed up $17.4MM in cap space, which the Bucs put to good use as they re-signed Baker Mayfield and Lavonte David following the application of Antoine Winfield Jr.‘s franchise tag.
  • The PanthersDane Jackson contract is for two years and worth $8.5MM in base value, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. While this NFL period has featured Carolina-to-Buffalo moves, the veteran cornerback will make the reverse trip and do so for $5.12MM guaranteed. The guarantees cover $1MM of Jackson’s 2025 base salary ($3.74MM).

FA Notes: Chiefs, Jones, Evans, Titans, Pats, Giants, Panthers, Falcons, Jags, Bucs, Rams

Buzz about the Chiefs re-signing Chris Jones surfaced last week, and while that trail has gone a bit cold, some optimism still exists the defending champions can keep their top defender off the market. Many around the league do not expect Jones to leave Kansas City, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, but they do not anticipate a discount coming to pass. Jones stuck to his guns last year during a holdout that cost him more than $3MM between fines and a missed game check; that would make it rather shocking if he agreed to a team-friendly deal now.

The Chiefs reaching the $27-$28MM-per-year range should help move this close to the finish line, Fowler adds. That said, Jones could probably — given the cap spike — make a run at Aaron Donald‘s $31.7MM AAV standard and the position’s guarantee record (Quinnen Williams‘ $66MM) if he reaches free agency. The Chiefs were not willing to go near the Donald AAV neighborhood during talks last year, and it will surely take a monster offer to keep Jones from testing free agency now.

With the legal tampering period less than a week away, here is the latest free agency news:

  • The Chiefs were also among the teams interested in Mike Evans, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, who details what would have been a big market for the veteran wide receiver. Evans opted to re-sign with the Bucs on a frontloaded deal that included $29MM fully guaranteed. The Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Panthers, Patriots, Rams and Titans were preparing to see what it could take to lure Evans out of Tampa. High-profile FAs regularly use the Combine to gauge markets before the legal tampering period, and Evans evidently determined this Bucs deal compared favorably to what he could have collected on the market. But with Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr. franchise-tagged, Evans would have been the top WR available. That distinction may now fall to Calvin Ridley.
  • Speaking of the Bucs, they are not ruling out a reunion with Shaquil Barrett at a reduced rate, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com notes. Tampa Bay cut Barrett last week, removing an $18MM-per-year contract from their payroll. Barrett stands to generate interest as a street free agent, but the former Super Bowl standout and NFL single-season sack leader is going into an age-32 season and coming off a 4.5-sack showing in 2023.
  • Darnell Mooney may be one of the players who could benefit from Evans, Pittman and Higgins being off the market. Despite the Bears target failing to eclipse 500 receiving yards in each of the past two years, he posted a 1,000-yard season in 2021 and has been in a low-volume passing offense. Teams figure to check in on the deep threat, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler suggests the Chiefs and Titans as potential players. The Chiefs’ receiver woes were well documented last season, and they recently cut Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Titans beat out the Chiefs for DeAndre Hopkins last year, but he is going into an age-32 season and signed for just one more year. Treylon Burks has also not shown much consistency yet.
  • Barring 11th-hour deals, this year’s safety market will feature Xavier McKinney and Kamren Curl. These two could do quite well without Antoine Winfield Jr. and Kyle Dugger in the mix, with ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan noting Curl’s market could come in around $14MM per year. A line of demarcation may emerge after these NFC East starters, with Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline adding a lucrative second wave should not be expected to transpire at this position. This is how the 2023 market played out, with a gulf forming between Jessie Bates and the field. Though, multiple others (Juan Thornhill, Vonn Bell, Donovan Wilson) collected eight-figure guarantees.
  • The Rams have talked terms with Kevin Dotson‘s camp, per GM Les Snead. They expect both he and center Coleman Shelton to hit the market. Dotson delivered a big contract year and should be expected to become one of the top earners on a crowded guard market. The Rams want Shelton back as well.

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.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans Seeking $25MM Per Season?

MARCH 2: Evans’ agent informed Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz that the high-profile wideout has no desire to play with a rookie contract on his next deal. That comes as no surprise given his age, though a Bucs-Mayfield agreement being worked out would make that condition a moot one if he were to remain in Tampa Bay.

Several outside suitors will no doubt be interested in Evans, but Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports the Texans will not be among them. If Houston is to make a big-money offensive investment (comparatively speaking), the team is expected to focus more on the running back position than a top-end pass catcher.

MARCH 1, 7:43pm: Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports that Evans now plans to hit free agency for the first time in his career. The ten-year veteran may still end up a life-long Buccaneer, but he fully intends to field offers from around the NFL. Despite ongoing discussions with Tampa Bay, Evans wants to keep his options open before deciding if he wants to return.

12:01pm: With Baker Mayfield in line for a multi-year contract and Antoine Winfield Jr. likely to receive the franchise tag, Mike Evans faces the distinct possibility of testing free agency later this month. The Buccaneers intend to keep all three members of that trio in the fold, but the latter could come with a hefty price tag.

Evans is aiming for a deal with an annual average value in the $25MM range, NFL Network’s Jeffri Chadhia reports. Securing a figure of that magnitude on a third contract would come as a surprise, as only four wideouts average $25MM or more on their current deals. Given his age (31 at the start of the 2024 season), Evans will likely be hard-pressed to command a new pact that close to the top of the market.

Still, his play remained at a Pro Bowl level in 2023, the first with Mayfield at quarterback. Evans posted 1,255 yards – his highest total since 2018 – and tied for the league lead with 13 touchdowns. Having topped the 1,000-yard mark in each of his 10 seasons, the second-team All-Pro will provide a high floor to the Buccaneers or a new team next season. A short-term pact in particular could prove to be a sound investment for Tampa Bay or an outside suitor.

At a minimum, Evans’ next deal can be expected to comfortably outpace the $16.5MM AAV of his previous one. That five-year accord provided major value to the Buccaneers, but the top of the market has surged in recent years. That trend could continue in 2024 with Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Amon-Ra St. Brown among the young wideouts eligible for mega-deals. Each member of that trio would be expected to command a more lucrative pact than Evans, but the latter could still generate a notable market for himself.

The Texas A&M alum went up until the start of last season during contract talks with the Buccaneers, but no agreement was reached. Reports from last month stated the sides are not close after the latest round of negotiations, meaning Evans could at least test the market once the new league year begins. Further clarity on Mayfield and Winfield (and, as such, Tampa Bay’s cap situation) will likely be in place by that point. It will be interesting to see where Evans’ asking price checks in during talks with the Buccaneers or other interested parties over the coming days and weeks.

Bucs’ Mike Evans On Track For Free Agency

A number of contracts around the NFL are set to void today, the eve of the franchise tag window. In the case of the Buccaneers, that is the true of key pending free agents Baker Mayfield, Antoine Winfield Jr. and wideout Mike Evans.

Tampa Bay is eyeing an agreement with Mayfield before free agency opens one month from now. The tag looms as a logical course of action in Winfield’s case, meanwhile. For Evans, though, today’s contract change marked an unofficial deadline to work out a new deal. No movement on that front has taken place, leaving him on track to reach the open market in March.

No Evans signing will take place today, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports. The parties have been in talks on a new deal, which would be his third with the franchise. As Russini adds, Evans and the Bucs are expected to continue negotiating “in good faith” through the franchise tag window and into the build-up for free agency.

However, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz notes the sides remain “far apart” with respect to terms on an agreement. As a result, significant progress will need to be made in the near future to avoid Evans hitting the market and thus opening the door to a departure. The 30-year-old helped his value in 2023 by delivering another strong season. Evans topped the 1,000-yard mark again, extending his career-opening streak to 10 years in that regard. He also tied for the league lead with 13 receiving touchdowns, developing chemistry with Mayfield through the season and Tampa Bay’s run to the divisional round.

Evans and the Bucs talked extension this past offseason, leading up to the former first-rounder’s self-imposed Week 1 deadline. The sides did not come close to an agreement, putting them in a similar situation to where they are now. Tampa Bay remained interested in a new deal during the season, but Evans upped his market value with his play. The Texas A&M alum will be hard-pressed to land a five-year contract like he did in 2018, but he could secure an AAV similar to the $16.5MM mark of his expiring pact,

Tampa Bay already has Chris Godwin on the books for the coming season at a cap hit of $27.53MM. He is set to cost $18.85MM in 2025, the first of three void years on his pact. Managing to retain Evans while also keeping Godwin in place will prove challenging if the Buccaneers are to also authorize Mayfield and Winfield to raises on either new multi-year deals or the franchise tag.

Winfield, Mayfield and Evans will now take up roughly $16MM in dead cap charges for 2024 with no new contracts being worked out today, Greg Auman of Fox Sports details. That has no effect on their pending free agency, but it could provide added incentive to the team to work out an agreement before the new league year. In Evans’ case, it appears that will not transpire.

Buccaneers Hope To Retain WR Mike Evans

Talks on a new deal during the summer did not produce an agreement for Mike Evans, leaving him as a pending free agent entering the season. The uber-consistent wideout has had another strong campaign, though, upping his value on a third Tampa Bay pact.

The Buccaneers want to retain Evans, Dianna Russini of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Efforts were made to ensure he would be in the fold beyond 2023, but little traction was found before the four-time Pro Bowler’s self-imposed Week 1 deadline arrived. Evans has been a major factor in the Bucs’ offense this year, however, including the team’s three-game win streak entering Sunday’s action.

The former first-rounder has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark, meaning he has hit that threshold every season in his 10-year career. Evans has also scored double-digit touchdowns for the fifth time in 2023, and his pair of scores in today’s game has him in position to set a new personal best in that regard. To no surprise, then, Russini notes that Evans’ asking price has likely risen compared to where things stood in the offseason.

The Texas A&M product is playing out the end of his five-year, $82.5MM pact signed in 2018. The $16.5MM AAV of that deal sits well below the top of the market given the monster contracts a number of wideouts have signed in recent years. At the age of 30, it will be interesting to see how much term Evans will be looking for on a new pact in addition to compensation. Working out a new deal would replace the void years on his current pact, which calls for a cap charge of over $12MM in 2024.

Tampa Bay already has a pricey WR deal on the books, though, with Chris Godwin set to carry a cap hit of over $27.5MM next year. Extending him could lower that figure, but doing so would require committing future resources at the position to someone other than Evans. The latter was mentioned in trade talks at the deadline, but he was retained and a November report suggested Tampa Bay was willing to negotiate a new deal ahead of free agency.

Retaining Evans would provide valuable continuity to an offense which faces quarterback uncertainty at the moment. Baker Mayfield is firmly on the extension radar, though, and a new pact for him will no doubt include a considerable raise from his 2023 compensation. Whether or not Evans will be in place for the Bucs’ 2024 offense will be a major storyline for the team after the campaign has come to a close.

Buccaneers Open To Extending Baker Mayfield; Latest On Mike Evans, Antoine Winfield Jr.

Baker Mayfield‘s 2021 and ’22 seasons tanked his 2023 free agent market. He settled for backup money from the Buccaneers, who were looking to cut costs after the Tom Brady $35.1MM in dead money hit their cap. Mayfield fit the bill, signing a one-year deal worth $4MM.

Midway through the season, Mayfield is on pace to fare better on the 2024 market — should he land in free agency. Mayfield, 28, entered the season joining Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill as starting quarterbacks in contract years. With Tannehill benched and Cousins out for the season, Mayfield is the only one left who has a clear path to adjusting his 2024 stock. The Bucs are an interested party, which makes sense given their standing.

The Bucs are open to the idea of a second Mayfield contract, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. They have exclusive negotiating rights with their current starter until March’s legal tampering period. That said, Fowler adds the sides have not engaged in negotiations just yet. It would make sense for both parties to let more of the season play out. Mayfield could elevate his stock with a strong finish, but given his inconsistent career, the Bucs also may still be leery of a more lucrative payment to a middling quarterback.

Far from middling in 2021 and ’22, Mayfield was with three teams last year and finished with league-worst QBR. Some Panthers staffers viewed Mayfield’s late arrival in Charlotte, which came to pass because of lengthy negotiations between Cleveland and Carolina regarding both draft compensation and an adjusted contract, impacted his poor Panthers performance. Mayfield played through a shoulder injury for most of his 2021 season in Cleveland, and the Browns moved on via the controversial Deshaun Watson trade/extension.

Mayfield ranks 14th in QBR through nine games, and he is completing passes (64.6%) at a career-high rate while carrying 14-5 TD-INT ratio. While the Bucs lost four straight after a 3-1 start, Mayfield had them in position to upend the Texans before a C.J. Stroud last-minute drive. He has tossed two touchdown passes in each of the past three games while throwing just one INT in that span.

While Cousins has been one of the game’s most consistent quarterbacks during his Minnesota stretch and Tannehill has seen ankle trouble (and the Titans’ second-round Will Levis investment) ding his stock, Mayfield can change his perception over the next two months. It would be highly unlikely to see Mayfield rival Cousins for AAV in 2024, but a midlevel QB accord could be in play.

Mayfield’s top target is also in a contract year. Mike Evans came up briefly at the trade deadline, but the Bucs showed no indication then or in August — when the Jets initially called — they were open to dealing the nine-time 1,000-yard receiver. Blazing toward a record-extending 10th straight 1,000-yard year to start a career, Evans is playing out a contract he inked in 2018. The Bucs are not believed to have proposed a second extension to the best wideout in franchise history, but Fowler adds some around the league believed the door is not shut on Tampa Bay revisiting talks and finding a way to retain the free agent-to-be.

Evans set a Week 1 extension deadline, making his dissatisfaction with contract talks public late in the summer. Nothing materialized, but GM Jason Licht has continually praised the likely Hall of Fame-bound talent, and although Evans said no offer has come despite off-and-on talks over the past two years, the longtime GM said in August the team wants Evans to stay in Tampa long term. Considering how close Evans would be to becoming a first-time free agent, the Bucs may have to battle other teams on the open market.

Then again, Tampa Bay has done well in that department. Over the past three offseasons, the team has re-signed Shaq Barrett, Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean and Lavonte David after letting them gauge the market during recent tampering periods. An Evans departure would obviously create a glaring need for the Bucs, which would point to the organization being interested. It remains to be seen, however, if the team is ready to pay upper-echelon money to convince the 30-year-old weapon to pass on outside interest come March.

The best bet for a Bucs franchise tag, though, might be Antoine Winfield Jr. Much younger than Mayfield and Evans, the 25-year-old safety would be on track to become one of the top 2024 free agents. A summer rumor indicated the Bucs were interested in extending Winfield, but nothing has come of it yet. At midseason, Fowler adds the Bucs have not made aggressive attempts to re-sign their young players just yet. Given the timelines of the Davis and Dean deals, it is not too surprising the Bucs have not gotten serious on a second Winfield contract yet.

This year’s safety market largely settled in south of $10MM per year, but Jessie Bates was the outlier, signing a four-year, $64MM Falcons pact. Winfield’s age and productivity would put him in line to rival Bates’ accord, which could conceivably bring the tag into play. A few teams have cuffed safeties during the 2020s. The Broncos tagged Justin Simmons twice, while the Bengals (Bates), Vikings (Anthony Harris), Saints (Marcus Williams) and Jets (Marcus Maye) unholstered the tag as well. Those tag prices all came in south of $13MM. OverTheCap projects the 2024 safety tag to be north of $18MM, which would make such a decision more difficult.

While the Bucs exercised Tristan Wirfs‘ fifth-year option to extend his negotiating timeline, they have until early March to keep their 2020 second-round pick off the market.

Jets Pursued Davante Adams, Tee Higgins, Mike Evans At Deadline

NOVEMBER 4: Confirming the Jets’ attempt at pulling off an Adams trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that New York contemplated such a move “throughout the summer.” Patience was exercised in terms of waiting for when to approach the Raiders, and a swap before the deadline would not have come as a shock given his frustrations with the previous regime. With Vegas having gone in a new organizational direction, though, it will be interesting to see how active the Jets are in making a renewed push for Adams in the offseason.

NOVEMBER 2: Mentioned as pursuing Mike Evans during training camp, the Jets do not appear to have shut down their efforts to upgrade their receiving corps. They kept going through this week’s trade deadline.

New York reached out on Evans once again during deadline week, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, while calling the Raiders and Bengals on Davante Adams and Tee Higgins. The Jets did not end up making a move, and Rapoport adds the team circling back to wideouts did not involve conversations past the exploratory stage.

The Adams call obviously generates the most intrigue, given the Jets’ April trade for Aaron Rodgers. Adams going from the Raiders’ setup to Zach Wilson might not have been particularly appealing, but his Raiders extension runs through 2026. Rodgers also continues to reference an against-the-odds return from an Achilles tear this season — to the point the Jets are also aiming for a late-season return. Adams certainly would have moved the needle opposite Garrett Wilson this season, but even if Rodgers does not come back this year, he is expected to return for the 2024 season. Adams might be back in play ahead of that point, though the Raiders did not make him available this week.

The Raiders executed a surprise housecleaning shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, firing Josh McDaniels, GM Dave Ziegler and OC Mick Lombardi. This came just more than a day after Adams violently slammed his helmet down during a one-sided loss to the Lions. Adams has not topped 60 receiving yards in a game since Week 4; the ex-Rodgers WR1 has been vocal about the Raiders QBs’ inconsistency in locating him. With the power duo that traded for Adams gone, his Las Vegas future is in limbo. It is interesting Mark Davis let McDaniels and Ziegler operate through the deadline, considering his plan to scrap the setup he authorized in 2022. But for the time being, Adams is effectively trapped.

Adams, 30, showed support for the Raiders despite the Derek Carr decision this offseason. But with Jimmy Garoppolo struggling, Adams is now on a team executing a midseason reboot. The Jets, however, could have another chance to reunite Rodgers and Adams in 2024. An anonymous GM told the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora that Adams will be traded during the ’24 offseason. It is unclear how the next Raiders staff will view Adams, but after he anchored three straight playoff-bound Packer teams’ receiving corps, languishing on a team potentially aiming to rebuild might not work at this point in the All-Pro’s career.

The Jets could also have another chance on Evans and Higgins. As of now, both are on track for free agency. Evans does not plan to talk an extension with the Buccaneers again, and with the perennial 1,000-yard pass catcher never previously reaching free agency, that would be an interesting chapter. The Bucs are not believed to have made Evans an offer to stay yet. Evans, 30, is in the final season of a five-year, $82.5MM extension. Fox Sports’ Greg Auman also adds the Jets did not call about Evans this week. While differing reports have come out about this situation, it does not appear any substantive Jets-Bucs conversations have occurred about the 10th-year receiver.

Higgins could be a franchise tag candidate, which would allow the Bengals to retain he and Ja’Marr Chase for another year. That said, the contract-year wideout has struggled this season. Joe Burrow‘s return to full strength may lead to a reignited Higgins soon, but thus far, the former second-round pick has compiled just 19 receptions for 218 yards in six games. Higgins and the Bengals could not agree on an extension this summer, and he is not planning in-season discussions. Teams called Cincinnati about Higgins, but considering the Bengals’ Super Bowl window, they were never expected to entertain inquiries. A more realistic trade scenario involving Higgins would be a tag-and-trade move next year.

With none of these Hail Mary-type trade efforts succeeding, the Jets will continue to rely on Garrett Wilson and Rodgers come-with guys Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb. Wilson is the only Jet to have surpassed 260 receiving yards this season. But these trade inquiries point to the team being interested in adding another impact weapon for Rodgers in 2024.

Jets, Buccaneers Engaged In Summer Mike Evans Talks

The Jets made three veteran additions to their receiving corps this offseason, and they attempted to add Odell Beckham Jr. But New York came out of free agency with Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman and Randall Cobb. Operating with an all-in mantra after trading for Aaron Rodgers, the Jets attempted a bigger swing.

Dealt a bit of a blow in August when Corey Davis stepped away from the team August 23, the Jets are believed to have contacted the Buccaneers to see about Mike Evans‘ availability, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Evans had expressed frustration about the lack of Bucs extension talks this summer.

Although it is unknown if Davis’ exit and Evans’ public frustration played into the Jets’ decision to reach out, those factors would support such a move. But the Bucs are believed to have shut down the conversation fairly quickly, Stroud adds. These notes come after a New York Post report indicated the Jets attempted to land Evans before Tuesday’s trade deadline; Stroud indicates the teams have not talked about the Pro Bowl wide receiver since August.

Evans set a deadline for Bucs extension talks, refusing to discuss a new deal during the season. That deadline did not surface until Sept. 1, but teams undoubtedly knew about the situation in Tampa before that point. Tampa Bay did not authorize a third Evans contract this summer and now has its greatest wide receiver in a walk year. GM Jason Licht said Tuesday he looked forward to Evans extending his record-setting streak of 1,000-yard seasons to start a career. Evans is already miles ahead of the field there, with nine straight out of the gate. Jerry Rice, despite missing four games due to the 1987 players’ strike, holds the overall NFL record with 11 straight 1,000-yard years.

Evans, 30, is on his way to yet another 1,000-yard slate. While he lacks the All-Pro accolades of his top peers, holding one second-team honor, the 2014 first-round pick will he a surefire Hall of Fame candidate. Through seven games, Evans is at 507 for the 3-4 Bucs. At this rate, the veteran pass catcher will be on track to command another lucrative deal. This one would likely come in free agency.

The Bucs have been able to outbid rivals on the market to retain their core players in recent years, keeping the likes of Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis and Lavonte David over the past two offseasons. But Evans and Tee Higgins are poised to be the top wideouts available next year. The franchise tag could come into play for both, but Evans’ price would stand to come in higher due to the receiver tag likely set to come in south of his pre-restructure salary.

As for the Jets, they already traded Hardman back to the Chiefs after burying the speedster on their depth chart. Their plans went awry in Week 1, when Rodgers suffered an Achilles tear, and Garrett Wilson is the only Jet with more than 260 receiving yards in the Zach Wilson-piloted offense. Wilson and Lazard are signed long term, however, with the former a near-certainty to see his fifth-year option exercised and the latter signed to a four-year deal. It would be interesting to see if the Jets circled back to Evans in free agency, with the team fully expecting Rodgers to come back for his age-40 season.

Buccaneers Not Looking To Trade WR Mike Evans

Plenty of attention continues to be paid to the high-profile players believed to be on the trade block. That list does not include Mike Evans, and to no surprise the Buccaneers are not interested in shopping their leading receiver.

During a Good Morning Football appearance, general manager Jason Licht said, “I’m really looking forward to Mike continuing his great career here in Tampa and extending his streak of 1,000 yard seasons here with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers” (h/t Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Evans’ future has come into question after talks on an extension failed to gain traction during the offseason. The four-time Pro Bowler set a deadline of the start of the campaign for an agreement to be worked out. That came and went, and the team elected to let Evans play out the 2023 campaign ahead of a fresh round of talks and, potentially, a free agent period.

It was reported at the time that Tampa Bay had no intention of trading the 30-year-old, so it comes as no surprise that Licht has confirmed the team’s stance on that front. Mutual interest exists for club and player to continue their ongoing relationship, but talks on another new deal will be complicated by a number of factors. Evans’ age will be one, along with the existing commitment to fellow wideout Chris Godwin. The latter is on the books through 2024 and has a scheduled cap hit of over $27.5MM next year.

Evans has posted 507 yards and five touchdowns on 33 catches this season, putting him on track to yet again reach the 1,000-yard mark. Doing so would extend his streak in that regard to 10 years and help his free agent stock. The Texas A&M product would no doubt generate a healthy market on a short-term deal in particular, though the upward trend seen at the receiver position in recent years could lead to an asking price teams would see as untenable.

For the time being, the Buccaneers will move forward with Evans and Godwin leading their Baker Mayfield-led offense. Tampa Bay sits at 3-4, giving the team a realistic chance of winning the NFC South for a third straight season. Evans’ performance in the second half of the season will be worth watching given its implications on the spring, but it can comfortably be assumed his tenure in Tampa Bay will continue through at least the end of the campaign.