Big Decisions For The Bucs & Mike Evans

May 28th, 2023

Click to shop now at GM Sean Sullivan is ready to help you PERSONALLY and give you the Ira Kaufman discount. Just ask! Lifetime warranty on new vehicles.


This is shaping up to be one heck of a consequential season for Mike Evans.

The most accomplished wide receiver in franchise history still has something to prove this fall. Approaching the end of his second Bucs contract, the initial draft pick of the Jason Licht era could become a free agent in 2024.

Evans, who turns 30 in August, has topped the 1,000-yard mark in each of his nine years at One Buc Place. That’s a compelling Hall of Fame resume, and there’s no reason to think Evans can’t continue to play at an elite level for several more years.

But will he end his career as a Buccaneer?

That’s the $13 million question, which happens to be his base salary for the upcoming season. Speculation is growing that the Bucs might trade Evans this summer to loaded teams like the Chiefs or Bills, creating more cap space while accumulating draft capital.

That’s not going to happen.

Licht, Todd Bowles and, most importantly, the Glazers, see a grand opportunity for a third consecutive division crown. They see a new starting quarterback who would suffer greatly if Evans departs. They see a trade involving Evans as a clear signal to the fan base that Tampa Bay is in full rebuilding mode.

Evans will start the season as a Buccaneer. What’s far less certain is whether he will finish 2023 in Tampa.

If things go awry and the Bucs are sitting at 2-5, ownership and management could revise the franchise’s approach and build toward 2024. That would leave an Evans or a Devin White in vulnerable positions — players who can fetch a decent return in a trade.

Guess who has a lot to say about determining Tampa Bay’s direction?

Mike Evans.

In his first two years catching passes from Tom Brady, Mike Evans reached the end zone a combined 27 times. That’s an extraordinary achievement.

Larry Fitzgerald never caught 27 TD passes over a 2-year span. DeAndre Hopkins didn’t do it, either. Julio Jones? Hell no.

But last season, as the Buc offense cratered around Brady, No. 13 celebrated only six times in the end zone. Wait, it gets worse. After scoring twice against the Chiefs in Week 4, Evans went 11 consecutive games without a TD reception. That’s the NFL equivalent of dereliction of duty.

In those 11 games, Evans caught only 51 passes for 682 yards. That’s not Mike Evans — that’s Ike Hilliard.

That’s not the Mike Evans Buc Nation has grown to embrace, the durable, physical target who excels at community service and typically plays with an edge.

It’s worth noting that in the biggest game of the season, Evans caught 10 passes for 207 yards against the Panthers, including three long TD receptions.

Six times, Evans has been voted by his peers as one of the league’s top 75 players. His average of 76.1 receiving yards per game ranks No. 12 on the all-time list, ahead of Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin.

The only substantive knock on Evans is he tends to disappear against the Saints. Since corner Marshon Lattimore entered the NFL in 2017, he has had a knack of crawling inside the head of Evans and weakening his focus.

If the Bucs have a successful season, it would be wrenching to see Evans walk away as a free agent. Chris Godwin has never been viewed as a No. 1 wideout … who knows how he would handle the extra attention sent his way if Evans departs.

Should the Bucs go 8-9 again, it may be wise for all concerned if Evans moves on and has a better opportunity to secure another Super Bowl ring.

Keep an eye on No. 13 this fall. We may be looking at his last waltz as a Buccaneer.

Ira Kaufman Makes A Bold Mike Evans Call, Talks Behind The Scenes At OTA Day 2, Donovan Smith Chatter, And Much More

29 Responses to “Big Decisions For The Bucs & Mike Evans”

  1. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Chris Godwin has never been viewed as a #1 WR? I read and heard multiple “experts” say we have 2 #1 WR’s. Some say Godwin is a better WR than Evans. And Evans himself said Godwin is a #1 WR.

  2. Ramblin_Man Says:

    Evans’ problems last year was due to a brain dead OC and Brady not having the balls to throw to Evan’s even though he is one of the best at making contested catches.

    If Baker is the starting QB this year I highly expect Evans’ numbers to dramatically increase.

  3. K_bassuka Says:

    Too bad that the Bucs chose to bring in the NFL premier WR killer to start in Barker Maybefield. If he played as well as he did with the Browns I expect out top 3 receiving targets to get hurt thanks to Maybefield “great ball placement” and leadership.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Evans’ lack of production last year was on Leftwich & Brady……he simply wasn’t targeted like he should have been.
    I don’t think Tom Brady likes 50-50 odds…..

  5. Beej Says:

    I never saw the red zone corner fade to ME13 last year outside of the first 1-2 games

  6. adam from ny Says:

    it’ll be nice if evans and lavonte remain bucs for life…as they are both ring of honor guys…

    dw is not in their stratosphere as a buccaneer, and that’s why fans are flipping so quickly on him during his contract negotiation process…

    mike is definitely one of “our guys” in the sense of being a buccaneer thru the thick and thin of it all…he’s been here for the entire ride…

    and ownership has to consider that, because most players are never part of a teams “lifetime fraternity” – but these 2 guys are

  7. adam from ny Says:

    also mike used to live on those 50/50 balls before tom was here…

    the high sideline grabs, and the go up and get it by the goalpost touchdown grabs…

    i hope those get reinstalled into the playbook, because mike was pretty masterful on most of those type throws

  8. Mike C Says:

    Anyway it shakes out, Mike is a Buc 4 life

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    For the Bucs to not restructure Evans’ contract strikes me as being very bizarre since we need salary CAP space so badly. The 2 most likely reasons?

    1 – Evans doesn’t want a new contract with the Bucs (he’d rather rake in the big bucks on the open market after this year).
    2 – Bucs can’t afford to pay Evans his current Market Value (presently listed at $23 mil by Spotrac based on a 4-year new contract).

    Both positions are understandable & have probably led to a stalemate to this point. Bucs will also have to negotiate next year with Tristan Wirfs (Market Value shown as $24.8 mil), plus Devin White (Market Value shown as $20.1 mil), Antoine Winfield Jr (Market Value at $14.3 mil), Lavonte David (Market Value $9.7 mil), and a host of others (like Mayfield, Gaines, Feiler, and a host of others).

    So for those thinking that we’ll be out of CAP purgatory after 2023, think again. 2024 will be even more challenging. Doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the Bucs will have to divest themselves of several high-priced players after this season.

  10. Crickett Baker Says:

    I get sad thinking about Mike leaving the Bucs.

  11. Ghost of Tom Brady Says:

    Evans needs to retire a Buc.

  12. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Evans has restructured his current contract multiple times including 2022 to save Bucs around 10 mil. Mike is here for life.

  13. Stanglassman Says:

    Evans is about to restructure and add two more years to give the Bucs the cap room they need to operate this year. So he will be locked up til ‘25. One step closer to retiring a Buc. I expect this to happen in June.

  14. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Selfishly I want ME13 to stay and retire a buc even if we have multiple losing seasons a head. We are a better team with him here. Don’t leave ME13

  15. BillyBucco Says:

    I agree with Defense Rules, I only add this observation.
    It’s harder to replace Evans than David and White.
    Hell we already have a replacement in Sirvicea Dennis.
    This guy might be better and do we really want White?
    Seems like more of a cancer.
    Things could change quickly yes, but you just don’t quit on what ME13 has done for this franchise.
    I would see a pay cut to stay before a guy like Mike chasing money or rings.
    What could replace winning a SB with Brady, and his entire family is in Tampa.
    Mike is a loyal man, I’m just not seeing it.
    We are gonna lose guys yes, but not ME13.

  16. sasquatch Says:

    Eff that. Let’s sign him up to an extension so he never leaves.

  17. adam from ny Says:

    hey they can kick the can down the road and be cutting mike checks until he’s 70 years old…lol…

    he’s always down to restructure…pay the man and keep him a buccaneer…

    and tell him “let’s get one more ring without tom” 🙂

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    I’d assume the Bucs are going to resign Evans in order to get space to sign the rookies – I’ve assumed for a while that was going to be the case when they brought back David and made other moves which show they’re not going to tank, on purpose (which is the wrong decision, to be sure).

    But if you’re not going to redo Evans contract, I’m not sure where you’re getting the money to get everyone signed and still have some cap space during the season. Evans hasn’t showed any real signs of slowing down, and should be solid for at least 2 more years, then probably start falling off – but so what, you live with that last year. So I assume a 2-year extension, probably $40-44m. People need to understand if you’re extending – you’re doing so with a cap that is expected to go up a lot, so Mike, on the low-end, is getting $20m, and might still get more. Godwin, if they extended him, it might be closer to $30m.

  19. Voice of Truth Says:

    Unless Mike wants out, he retires a Buc

    Everything points to him wanting to finish right here – there isn’t a diva bone in his body and has been the ultimate team player his entire career

    He has redone his deal multiple times to help the team

    It’s blasphemy to even suggest he gets traded for draft capital – he isn’t Devin White

  20. Miller5252 Says:

    It would suck something terrible if Evans gets traded away. If that happens, you can pretty much kiss everyone below the GM goodbye. Heck, ole Litch may get his walking papers as well if they do this. He’s a MT. Rushmore of Bucs legends. They don’t athletes like him anymore. What he is on the field, he’s better in the locker room and off the field. Pay the man one more time for 2 years and then let him decide what he wants to do. If he can’t get another shot at a ring here, cut em so he can pick where he wants to go. He deserves that for everything he’s done. I would hate to see him go, but if he can’t get a ring here, let him do what he wants.

  21. BucU Says:

    After reading the article my biggest takeaway is just how unbelievably bad Leftwich was at his job. I know it’s beating a dead horse but when u look back at this offense last year we saw the exact same thing game after game after game. I don’t care that the new guy hasn’t been a OC previously. He’ll be light years better than the still unemployed BL.

  22. Fire the cannons Says:

    Mike has place reserved on the ring and in Canton.

  23. Herbiebuc Says:

    I know it’s a business but it would sure hurt to see mike evans in another team Jersey! Players like him and LVD should retire Bucs! They went through the dog days and capped it off with a Super Bowl! You can’t ask for much more

  24. SB~LV Says:

    Boneheaded FO and ownership don’t know that the wise thing is to trade him!

  25. Rob Says:

    Mike retires a Buc or we riot.

  26. gotbbucs Says:

    Damn the business side of things. If Mike wants to finish his career in Tampa, then we need to make that happen.

  27. Duane Says:

    ME13 is going to be around for a while. He doesnt break the bank, and we all know that he is overutilized as a decoy when he is a premiere 50/50 guy. He will turn more heads this season around the nfl when he posts another consecutive 1000 season with a qb named Traskerfield. Nuff said. LFG.

  28. garro Says:

    Ira Ilove your takes most of the time… But i’m not with you on this one.
    Evans had a down year because the team had a down year and it might just be there were other factors at work here accounting for the lack of TD’s

    Like the crap play of the offensive line! His QB did not have enough time to look for Evans in the endzone or anywhere else on the field. In the red Zone we had no other real threats but Godwn …We missed Gronk and Brate was not his former self. Thus …All eyes on Evans.

    Last But certainly not least Leftnut!

    This is gonna sound like an excuse but we were also playing against the refs most of the time. Our recievers got mugged alot last year and there were lots of noncalls

    However Evans body language at times last year seemed … to say he was not a happy camper. I could understand his being frustrated, but beyond that I don’t know.

  29. dbbuc711 Says:

    ME13 damn well better retire ad a Buc