The Tampa Bay Buccaneers locked up WR Mike Evans to a monster five-year $82.5 million dollar contract with $55 million guaranteed. The deal makes Evans the second highest paid receiver in the league and he becomes the first of his draft class to reach the second contract with his original team.
But is the contract a good one for Tampa Bay?
While by his standards, Evans had a down year he still became only the third receiver in NFL history to reach 1,000 yds receiving in each of his first four seasons. The former Texas A&M Aggies has lived up to his early first-round status, ranking third on the Bucs all-time receptions (309) and receiving yards list (4,579) and second in receiving touchdowns (32).
Among receivers drafted in 2014, Evans is second in his draft class in touchdowns and receptions while leading his class in receiving yards.
Add to that, he’s only 24, this is a football player essential to the Buccaneers locking up.
How Evans Fits
Mike Evans got a little lost in the shuffle last season with the Bucs trying to figure out how to use new receiving weapons Desean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Jameis Winston’s injury didn’t help and Evans himself dealt with nagging injuries all season. Evans also wasn’t the factor in the red zone he’d been in the previous year.
I’d look for the Bucs to re-commit to Evans as a central part of their offense and stop trying to make everyone happy. Bucs Head Coach Dirk Koetter quipped after one game, “I told Jameis things were a lot easier when you could just throw it up to Mike Evans.”
Evans is still here and now will be here for a long time. Now it’s time for Tampa Bay to use him.
Impact to the Cap
Tampa Bay came into the day with the 4th most cap space in the league, per Overthecap.com. While we await the structure of the deal to be announced, Evans was already on the books for $13.258 million on the 2018 cap thanks to his fifth-year option. If the deal is front-loaded as expected it will eat a little more the first few years of the deal and it may inadvertently turn Desean Jackson’s deal into a one year prove it deal. If Jackson becomes the impact that this offense was expecting in 2017, he’ll stay and the Bucs will work around the numbers. If he doesn’t, the Bucs can cut him in 2019 and save $10 million against the cap.
Being front-loaded would be beneficial to Tampa Bay in preparing to extend Winston to a second contract.