The dollars are flying fast and furious at the start of NFL Free Agency and in particular, wide receivers started cashing in, immediately. The question we pose on a Friday: how does it affect the Bucs hope and desire to get a long term deal for Mike Evans?
We wrote previously about Antonio Brown’s huge new contract last month and the impact that it would potentially have on an Evans, who had comparable numbers to Brown in 2016, and getting his deal in Tampa Bay finalized.
And obviously, Tampa Bay signing DeSean Jackson Thursday to a lucrative deal that averages over $11 million and has $20 million guaranteed shows they mean business on improving the big play capability of their passing game. You have to think that Evans is thrilled to have that kind of deep threat weapon line up on the other side, and take away some of the repeated double teams he’s seen particularly the last two years.
Now, back to the fiscal reality. Alshon Jeffery signed for significant money ($14 million) but only a one year deal in Philly Thursday and then you have Kenny Stills re-upping with the Dolphins Wednesday night at $8 million per season and also $20 million guaranteed.
So, the financial part is clear: with Evans young age (you might forget that even after three years in the NFL, Mike doesn’t turn 24 until August), huge impact already and the market above, he’s easily worth $15 and probably closer to $18 million a season on a long term deal. Bear in mind, Tampa Bay can also pick up the fifth year option on Evans’ rookie deal, too.
And, the Bucs will likely have to pony up $40-50 million guaranteed to get that long term deal done, which they continue to maintain publicly and privately, they are willing to do.
We know that Mike and his wife have a young child and he is looking to make Tampa Bay his long term home. Plus, he has a fantastic relationship with QB Jameis Winston on and off the field. And, he improved greatly in all aspects of the position with new receivers coach/offensive coordinator, Todd Monken coming in last season.
So, the positives are all in the Buccaneers favor to keep him around.
But, these deals are expensive and complicated and take time. And it leaves you to wonder if Thursday helped or hurt getting Evans signed….and paid.