HomeFootball DirtMike Evans, Buccaneers Wide Receiver, Progressing Towards Free Agency

Mike Evans, Buccaneers Wide Receiver, Progressing Towards Free Agency

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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.

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