“I Can’t See Mike Playing Anywhere Else”

September 1st, 2023

Contract chatter.

Joe is rehashing a days-old article because Bucs fans late last night went into full-blown panic mode.

So Joe is trying to talk Bucs fans down from the ledge because the freakout is, at this point, unnecessary and way, way, way premature.

Apparently, Mike Evans’ agent did some saber-rattling claiming Evans is fed up with the lack of progress in contract negotiations with the Bucs and is seriously considering walking away from the Bucs after this season.

Evans is in the final year of his contract.

The agent apparently forgot one teensy, weensy little element. Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht has a franchise tag card to play in this game of NFL poker.

Not quite two weeks ago, one of the most respected NFL scribes still tapping a keyboard, Dan Pompei of The Athletic, had a sitdown separately with both Evans and Licht for a feature on Evans.

Here is a direct quote from Licht on re-signing Evans:

“I can’t see Mike playing anywhere else. I hope and think we can figure something out so he can retire a Buc. We want Mike to be here long term.”

And here is what Pompei typed about Evans:

Staying in Tampa is important to him, but it’s not everything.

Unless something dramatic happened between Licht and Evans’ people in the past two weeks, does that sound like a player who wants out? Does it sound like a general manager who doesn’t want to find a way to keep the player?

Once again, this story was published Aug. 18.

This is why Joe rarely deals with agents. Joe is not saying Evans’ agent, Deryk Gilmore, is a con artist. Joe has never dealth with him. But agents always are pushing an agenda because they have a significant financial incentive to use all sorts of tactics to get their clients every possible nickel.

This is no different than lawyers. They are paid to represent their clients. They will do whatever is legally possible. Honest, objective, frank candor with independent third parties is not an asset nor a virtue with these folks.

It is not beneath an agent’s self-worth to fire a salvo at a team through a reporter when trying to negotiate a contract. It’s a tradition as old as printing an environmentally unfriendly news delivery service.

This is not to say team officials don’t have agendas. But Joe has cultivated relationships within the league that lead Joe to know honest talk or if Joe is being sold a bill of goods.

Let’s recap and put things in perspective:

* Evans told Pompei it is important to stay with the Bucs — though his mind is open to alternatives.

* Licht wants Evans to stay with the Bucs.

* Licht has a franchise tag he can use on Evans. In the past, Licht has used the franchise tag on Chris Godwin (twice) and Shaq Barrett to buy him time.

* The franchise tag deadline is March 5.

There is no need to freak out, folks. If Evans has a solid year — he may have had the best training camp of his career this summer — and Team Glazer wants Evans back, Joe is confident Licht will find a way.

Could Evans bolt after this season? Possible.

Could Evans re-up his current contract with the Bucs? Sure.

Could Evans be franchise tagged? Again yes, Joe is sure it’s possible.

All this commotion can be summed up in two words: Agent noise.

39 Responses to ““I Can’t See Mike Playing Anywhere Else””

  1. shawn Says:

    Joe, i am just in awe of the actions in display by our front office. All these other players hold ut and throw hissy fits and get their way. Mike does everything by the book, has been underpaid for the better part of 3 years now and we are incapable of giving him a contract? Why doesnt mike hold out. He hold all the leverage. How could we allow the best player in franchise history to just walk. Its baffling. There is plenty of evidence to suggest he is currently in his prime

  2. FortMyersDave Says:

    Good info Joe. I just read the Yahoo article which referenced something from Rick Stroud of the Times which has the headline “Mike Evans likely playing his last season with Bucs as talks hit snag”. Looking at the Times article, it looks like Stroud did not mention any sort of franchise tag, just said that Evans wants Cooper Kupp numbers. Looks like the Times is trolling for clicks for their content, thanks for setting the story straight Joe.

  3. garro Says:

    “Trust Joe when he types that it is not beneath an agent’s self-worth to fire a salvo at a team through a reporter when trying to negotiate a contract.

    This is true Joe but doesn’t excuse said reporter from being the same irresponsible Jerk we think most agents are!

    Go Bucs!

  4. Jeffrey Becker Says:

    Stroud only said ‘likely’ his last year with bucs, ‘likely’ because he included a graph on evans wanting kupp money, 75 mill guaranteed etc, but doesn’t say how he knows that, so i don’t believe it yet. evans wouldn’t ask for kupp money imo, and if for some reason he did, he would understand why he didn’t get it. so i’m with joe, i don’t believe it. catchy headline though, might explain it

  5. Obvious Says:


    “I’d like to but it Aint Everything.”

    Not exactly encouraging words from Mke and NOT what I thought I’d Ever hear out of Mike’s Mouth. I get he’s angling BUT… He sounds okay with writing us off. Hmmmm

    A little to nonchalant for my taste. I was raising He!! in an article before. I’m going to nonchalantly take that outrage back and it isn’t because Licht has a franchise tag in case you’re wondering… I guess I always thought it meant more to him. It used to. I guess he’s changed his mind and is starting to sound more like he’s morphed into let’s just say a different kinda guy these days.

    Lost my heart a little when I read that. Business or not. I suppose I’ll just view him as an asset going forward then instead of a “caring person” that I would fight for. I WAS going to finally buy his jersey this year. And THAT’S ON HIM….. O how.the faithful have fallen Michael Evans….

    GO BUCS!

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Love your bottom line: ‘Agent noise’.

    I still have trouble though seeing how Evans, Godwin AND Palmer (love our shiny new receiver) PLUS White & Otton are all gonna fit into THIS projected offense. I still view this as primarily a short & intermediate passing offense, combined with more running (say up to 45% of the offensive plays). I’m convinced that Mayfield will be able to spread the ball around reasonably well, but that’s still a tall order for both Evans AND Godwin to get 1,000 yards plus IF we really become more of a running team.

    Maybe it’s not all about money though & getting paid Cooper Kupp numbers? Mike’s posted HOF numbers thus far, but he still has several more years to go & he might not be convinced that THIS type of an offense can provide him enough good opportunities to put up the numbers he’ll need the rest of the way to get in. IOW, maybe his waiting is all about what he sees as his legacy and how to best cement that?

  7. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Could Evans be traded if things go pear shaped…much like their head coach?

    It’s possible. It wouldn’t be popular but not everything always is.

  8. Onetrickpony Says:

    I’d rather see Licht go, before Evans.

  9. Stanglassman Says:

    It didn’t sound like they were very close in negotiations from what Licht said yesterday. Are they asking him to play for less than (20 m yr) Godwin? Chris is in his prime and Mike probably isn’t. I can see both sides cause Mike has been great and should get paid more because he’s the #1 WR. But do you pay a 30 year old WR that kind of money when many in that position drop off at (see TY Hilton) that age.

  10. austin marvel Says:

    Evans is by far the greatest player in Bucs history and it isn’t close. He’s had 1k every year he’s been a pro and really hasn’t showed signs of slowing down which is why people who say he’s “past his prime” are absolutely stupid. Mike Evans has never really been paid like a top WR and with him having maybe 5-6 years left, he just wants one more big contract that will take care of him after retirement.
    Projected deal – He gets franchise tagged and then signs a 5 year deal for 85 million. After the 5 years, he signs a 1 year cheap deal(considering he will be 35), and then retires as a top 10 WR in NFL history.

  11. 941Boltsfan Says:

    Talk about an example of agent manipulation. Pre OTAs/minicamp Colts RB1 Jonathan Taylor was all in and excited for his upcoming season with the Colts.
    Hires a new agent suddenly JTs pushing for a new contract that has caused waves between ownership/ front office. Now his injury is lingering and having a stand in (standing in the corner looking like young immature Cam Newton) likely looking at what is now an unfixable relationship.

  12. Usfbuc Says:

    The Bucs are in a tough spot. If Baker plays well, he going to ask for a lot of money next year. We also have several other key contracts to get done. I like ME and what he has done for the team but he has one last payday so I understand if he is trying to get paid.

  13. K_bassuka Says:

    Unfortunately that’s the NFL reality. The league’s system wasn’t set up for players to stay with one franchise. Also, you can’t blame Licht neither cause he has to save as much money as possible to re-sign to a big contract the Bucs lord and savior himself The Baker Man 🙄.

    Go Bucs!

  14. Usfbuc Says:

    Just looked at over the cap and if I am reading it right the Bucs are going to get a deal done with ME. We are already paying him 12.2 million next year on a voided year. My guess is that ME wants years and the Bucs are trying to sign him one yr at a time

  15. gotbbucs Says:

    They’re not going to use a $28 million dollar franchise tag on him. That’s not happening.
    I love Evans and I hope they can find a way to keep him, but this team has got to get the salary cap back under control at some point too.

  16. PassingThru Says:

    This might explain the “Mike Evans is past his prime” article. The Evans camp probably sees the article as an intentional leak by the team to either pave way for sn exit, or at the very least an attempt to negotiate in the public forum. It’s all part of the world of professional sports.

  17. geno711 Says:


    Not sure how you got 28 million as a franchise tag for a wide receiver next year.

    When Godwin got franchised tag in 2021 it was $15.983 million.
    This year 2023, the franchise tag on Wide receivers was $19.743 million.

    Guessing 21 to 22 million.

  18. Arians4President Says:


    From beginning to end, this might be one of the most well written articles I’ve seen, on this site or any other sports news site, in years. I was one of those people freaking out inside and this article shifted my perspective by breaking down both the emotional and logistical elements involved.

    Great job!

    Ps- great line: “Honest, objective, frank candor with independent third parties is not an asset nor a virtue with these folks.”

  19. Beej Says:

    They can tag him twice, by then he’ll probably be ready to retire, also saves yet another long term contract

  20. pewter941 Says:

    The question is what team would be willing to give mike 25 mil guaranteed for the next 3 years at 30 years old?

  21. pewter941 Says:

    *per year

  22. Lt. Dan Says:

    I can’t see Licht applying the franchise tag to Evans. Dude has been loyal to the Bucs beyond belief. But..the NFL is a business so who knows?

  23. Elita Vita Says:

    Sounds like agent saber rattling to me. If we value Mike Evans and want to do right by him have a frank discussion with him. Offer him a fair yet somewhat generous contract. If probably up to Mike and management things can be worked out. Pleasing the agent would be more challenging.

  24. Lt. Dan Says:

    Regarding lawyers:, “They will do whatever is legally possible to aid their client.” Or…will they keep it legal? Looking at you “America’s Mayor”

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:

    It’s not like the organization has been bad to him.

    We gave him a pretty rich deal years ago, and he’s been great but if he is wanting Cooper Kupp type money that’s a bit ridiculous IMO. Kupp got that contract after almost catching the NFL record for receiving yards in a season.

    You need to be a 90-100 catch 1300-1500+ yard 10 TD+ type WR to be worth that at a minimum, and he’s been more like a 70 catch 1000-1100 yard WR consistently.

    He got $15-20M on average per year through his last contract which seems about right. He’s not being underpaid IMO. I hope he balls out this year and we can make it work, but if he over-values himself the way that Devin White does, then it probably won’t work. You can’t just pay people whatever they want if it isn’t a realistic reflection of the market and their actual value. I mean you can but you’d be a bad manager.

  26. Bobby M. Says:

    IMO….I think management wants to see our record before the trade deadline. If we’re sputtering at 2-5, then we’re looking at a rebuild and probably try to trade him for what we can to collect picks for drafting a QB. If we’re 5-2, Mayfield is likely the answer and we can then take care of Evans.

  27. Joe Says:


    From beginning to end, this might be one of the most well written articles I’ve seen, on this site or any other sports news site, in years. I was one of those people freaking out inside and this article shifted my perspective by breaking down both the emotional and logistical elements involved.

    Great job!

    Thank you very much for the kind words! Means a lot. 🙂

  28. Joe Says:

    Evans is by far the greatest player in Bucs history and it isn’t close.

    Lee Roy Selmon? Evans is right up there, but Lee Roy was different.

  29. Rob Says:

    Any good business man or stock trader sells his assets when they are ascending in value or near the top of their valuation. Mike is at the top or just past the top of his valuation. He’s expensive for a 30 year old WR. As emotional as it can be for some fans, it’s time to trade Mike to a contending team that needs a #1 or #2 WR.

    I would bet the Bucs will build up his value by giving him plenty of chances to raise his value by throwing the ball to him a lot at the beginning of the season. I think a 2nd round pick plus a future 3rd or 4th would be his value. I could see them doing the same thing with Shaq and and possibly White.

  30. Joshua porter Says:

    If they franchise tag him it would be for about 28 million not sure I would pay that to any wr …….

  31. D-Rome Says:

    I agree with you ’79 Defense. If the Bucs can let Warren Sapp play elsewhere then it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Jerry Rice didn’t finish his career with the 49ers.

  32. Bucs since 76 Says:

    The Rams next WR after Cupp makes less the 2 million a year. The Bucs are paying Godwin 20 million and if they pay Evans 26 million a year. That means the Bucs will be spending over 46 million a year on two WR.

  33. Pa Bucs fan Says:

    Guys this is actually great news, cuz if Rick Stroud reports it it’s definitely not true so that means evans is gonna be here for years to come!

  34. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I wonder what his trade value is. No way we can get a #1 for him but maybe a 2.

    It seems every year so many young WR’s come in and ball. That is one position that used to take longer to develop and was harder to find elite talent but not so much lately.

  35. Smashsquatch Says:

    Thanks for putting this into proper perspective Joe; although you forgot about the unthinkable option. Bucs could trade him if the losses pile up. This would be a shrewd move. Tying up too much money on two wideouts would saddle a team looking to rebuild.

  36. Steven007 Says:

    Lt Dan, it’s hard for any fan, even big fan of Evans to think Evans loyalty is somehow analogous to him being insulted with signing a one your deal worth more than most of us will make an a lifetime, especially after he’s already signed several other high money deals. Evans could never make another penny after this year and have enough money for generations of his family. Don’t cry for him.

  37. sasquatch Says:

    It’s always a risk to pay a huge contract to a player over 30. Multi-year guaranteed salaries are kinda crazy at this age. I could see them guaranteeing 2 years, maybe.

  38. SlyPirate Says:

    Mike is playing for a contract.

  39. unbelievable Says:

    Anything can happen, but if y’all don’t think Licht is going to do everything in his power to keep Evans, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Licht, like most GMs, wants to keep his home grown draft picks. Evans was his very first draft pick, a perennial pro bowler and a future HOFer. He will do everything he can to keep Mike a Buc for life.