The “Contract Year” Effect

January 8th, 2024

“Not a big fan of this guy opening up like that, Mike.”

Interesting take from Ali Marpet tonight on one of his former teammates.

The retired Tampa Bay guard was a co-host on the Buccaneers Radio Network and seemed to deliver what feels like Bucs heresy. Marpet put Mike Evans in the proverbial basket of players who play harder because they’re in a contract year.

Evans could become a free agent after this season if the Bucs don’t slap the franchise tag on him or re-sign him before the new fiscal year starts in mid-March.

Marpet loves the year Evans is having and is impressed that he’s balling in Year 10.

“The truth is it’s a contract year for Mike,” Marpet said.

“And I think, outside looking in usually those guys tend to play with a little more fire,” Marpet added while cracking a smle. “And it is awesome to see. But I do know that even after whatever contact Mike gets that he’ll be able to continue to get 1,000 yards [per season].”

Man, Joe guesses Evans is human. While his work ethic is extraordinary, contract year motivation is a different animal.

Bucco Bruce Arians used to say he loved guys playing on one-year deals. And general manager Jason Licht gave his famous some-guys-need-“a-carrot” line years ago.

All this got Joe wondering about Baker Mayfield and how he just delivered his best regular season on an incentive-laden, one-year contract.

21 Responses to “The “Contract Year” Effect”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    We all know, well at least those that pay attention know, that angry Mike, is the best Mike. When other plays talk trash about him (see Keenan Allen as an example), Mike goes out and shows them up.

    I said before the season that I hope Licht knows he’s bringing back Mike, but maybe lets things play out before giving him a new deal, because mad Mike will have a huge year — and that’s what we saw.

    There is some fear that you’ll get a drop off next year, but you’re talking about maybe 5%, not 25%. Him and Winfield need to get new deals the day the season ends.

  2. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    Well said Rod. Mike is a pro but angry Mike is a pro with more ass whooping. When he dropped balls to Brady he was upset and maybe “mad” when it was a possible TD drop. This year he was upset to mad at a lot of drops. Sit on the sideline and the team knew to stay away. He should get 2-3 years at 20+ but we only have so much money as Winfield deserves a payday and yes if we keep Baler he will get far more than 4 million.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    Paratrooper Buc – I give Mike whatever he wants, he’s going to be an ALL-PRO level WR for another 3 years, then probably a solid starter for year 4, then maybe you see a notable drop-off. So if he wants 5-years, $25m, well that’s the market now, and I’d pay him, even if year 5 might not be all that great of a deal.

    As for the cap, it’s pliable. Just look at the Saints, every year they’re $100-million over the cap going into the offseason, and every year they somehow get new expensive players while keeping nearly everyone they want to keep.

    Just have to get Winfield done and Evans done, and I have no doubt they will.

  4. toad bowels Says:

    Moral of the story: Don’t drop your balls

  5. Shane Callahan Says:

    It’s weird to think just how close the Saints dirty hits against Baker nearly landed them into the playoffs and how those dirty hits made Baker haters forget his perfect game at Lambeau and how he led his mediocre team to the playoffs. Some of y’all are weird.

  6. Bucs Guy Says:

    I understand what every one is saying, but it’s based on the individual. Evans, Winfield, Baker – yes. But it’s not universal. How do you explain Devin White’s lack of effort in a contract year?

  7. DoooshLaRue Says:

    …….so extra hungry now in a contract year and what do you think happens to the hunger after the big contract and guarantees?

  8. Shane Callahan Says:

    Good news is that a somewhat healthy Baker led THE BROWNS to a playoff win… Go Bucs!!!

  9. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    Unless evans takes a home town discount…he won’t be here.

    again…for the misinformed…yes he has restructured years NOT deferred any money.

    In layman’s terms…the team converts his weekly salary to a lump sum “bonus” which can then be prorated over the rest of contract term. It is a huge benefit for the player and team. So, spare me that argument.

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    DoooshLaRue Says:
    January 8th, 2024 at 11:48 pm
    …….so extra hungry now in a contract year and what do you think happens to the hunger after the big contract and guarantees?


    I’d say look at their history.

    In the case of Evans and Winfield, they have exceptional histories of being ALL-Pro caliber players. It’s pretty safe to give them big deals.

  11. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I’ve got no problem paying Winfield.
    He’s got youth on his side and I don’t think his father would let him slack off even if he wanted to, which I doubt he would.

  12. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Money only matters to a certain extent with Winfield he is more about being respected and winning. The man grew up with money a silver spoon as the term goes. He’s also had the inside track on training, coaching and body preservation.

  13. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    In baseball there is a stat called WAR.
    Wins above replacements.
    It would be interesting to see what Levonte David’s, Mike Evans, Antoine winfields, deva whites, baker mayfields, Wirfs, WAR is.
    It’s gotta be out of sight for Evans, and Winfield, David, if they even do a ‘WAR’ for nfl players…idk.
    You do see who the Bucs captains are…
    They are the impact players on this roster, and those guys are all coming due for renewal.
    This year will be interesting to say the least.

  14. heyjude Says:

    Evans is steadfast and committed to the Bucs. He said he wanted to have his entire career with the Bucs. This year has changed a lot. More and more coverage of Evans by other teams, balls not reaching him or over-reaching him, and yes some drop balls. In the end, he is our guy and I would hate to see him go. He and Winfield have proven their-selves and both deserve big contracts to stay.

  15. SirClicksAlot Says:

    @lawn chairs they don’t do WAR in football but there is a Career Approximate Value stat that is somewhat similar. It tries to quantify how much value each player has compared to their peers. Anyone at 20+ is considered very good/important.

    ME – 81
    David- 104
    Winfield – 19
    Wirfs- 37

  16. Hodad Says:

    Doesn’t seem to apply to Betty White.

  17. Colonel Angus Says:

    Keep Mike angry, franchise tag him

  18. Larrd Says:

    He won’t get as huge a desl as he thinks he deserves, I bet, but I disagree with folks who claim he’s on the downside. He is only 30. He is at his peak. He is huge with great hands. 1000 yards should be a given in 17 games, for several more years.

  19. orlbucfan Says:

    In Licht I trust. He’ll get it done. LVD deserves a raise, too.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    Doosh has been wanting to get rid of Mike Evans for the last 5 years at least, pay him no mind.

    Licht and Greenberg will figure it out- there’s always ways. Evans should retire as a Buc, as I’ve said all along.

  21. BelleGladeBuc Says:

    ME13 can’t be franchised tagged.

    Per the CBA his franchise tag would cost the Bucs $28 million for a guaranteed 1 year contract for 2024.

    The Bucs have $47 million in 2024 cap space.

    The Bucs have 31 players signed to their roster for 2024.

    That means if they franchise tag ME13 for 2024 the Bucs will only have $19 million in cap space for 2024 to resign 32 other players, including big time free agents in Baker and Winfield and their draft class to fill out their 54 man roster.