As NFL fans saw on Thursday, contracts for superstars keep getting larger by the year. Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders agreed to new a five-year, $125 million deal in which, he will receive $25 million per year and $40 million fully guaranteed. This deal now makes Carr the highest paid player in the NFL, for now.
The questions that now loom around One Buc Place: What will it take to lock up Jameis Winston, now? And maybe more importantly, how does this affect Mike Evans getting a deal worth the $17-$19 million per year that the top wide receivers are making?
With Winston entering the third year of his rookie contract, which as a whole is worth $25 million, you better believe that contract negotiations will be cranking up between the Bucs and Winston’s agent. But under the CBA rules, he cannot get a new deal until after he plays three years, which is the 2017 season season.
It’s obvious that Winston, the #1 overall pick in 2015, is the future of the Tampa Bay offense, and head coach Dirk Koetter has built the scheme and personnel around Winston’s strengths. By adding more offensive weapons in DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard, Jameis can look to build on the success that the Bucs have had in the past two years, thus leading to a new major contract.
In addition to signing Winston to a huge contract, Tampa Bay also has to plan out how they are going to pay Mike Evans in the short term. Evans, a fourth-year receiver from Texas A&M, has been a consistent threat to secondaries while becoming only one of four receivers to catch over 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. Having joined that elite group of receivers, Evans is sure to be in for a big payday as well, and can receive a new deal at any time this summer and beyond.
With two large contracts coming up for Evans and Winston, the concerns still remain on where the Bucs will spend their money. Gerald McCoy is locked up long-term, Doug Martin’s salary won’t affect the cap too much, and Lavonte David recently signed a five-year extension. The focus has been on making sure there is room in the salary cap to reward Winston and Evans with the contracts they deserve.
General Manager Jason Licht will have a lot to consider as the summer goes on, during this next regular season and then, the offseason.
However, the performances by Winston and Evans have already assured big future contracts.