Todd Bowles Doesn’t Even Want To Discuss Mike Evans Hitting Free Agency

January 23rd, 2024

Can’t bear the thought.

Yesterday was a sad day at One Buc Palace. It always is.

Yes, there will be changes in the coming months. Joe is certain of it. It’s like death and taxes. They will happen.

Former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter used to say about a third of a team’s roster changes every year. It’s just natural attrition. New draft picks and free agents arrive, other free agents and players not producing leave or retire. Careers end due to injury.

Every locker clean out day, just hours after the final game of a season, is somber. Some players know they won’t be back. Some know their careers might be done the moment they walk out the door.

Neatly draped across Lavonte David’s locker was reserve defensive lineman Pat O’Connor’s jersey. On the jersey, Joe could see a personal message written to David, about four lines, all up and down the white No. 7 on his red “79” numbered jersey.

O’Connor, after being a seventh-round draft pick by the Lions in 2017, bounced on and off their practice squad and active roster for a couple of months before the Bucs signed him in October 2017.

Since, O’Connor has spent the better part of seven years being cut, released and assigned from the Bucs’ practice squad to the active roster.

O’Connor is 30. Perhaps he’s retiring or is sick of perpetual job insecurity. Perhaps his body is breaking down and he’s fed up with the constant punishment. Perhaps he wants to see if he can start for another team. Perhaps he has been told by the Bucs he won’t be brought back.

Either way, Joe is sure that message written on his jersey for David was a farewell of sorts. O’Connor, at best, is a bubble player. David, a free agent, doesn’t know if he will retire or even play for the Bucs next season. So it’s a fair bet O’Connor, who lives in Chicago, and David, who lives in Miami, won’t be teammates again. And they may not see each other again outside of a Bucs Super Bowl reunion.

That’s one example of why locker clean out day is sad.

Another guy who may have walked out of the locker room for the final time is the greatest wide receiver in Bucs history, Mike Evans.

The Bucs legend is also a free agent. And yes, there is a chance, maybe a decent chance, Evans won’t return. It’s something that revolts Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

“I don’t even think about it,” Bowles said. “I don’t like to be asked about it.

“I don’t want to know about it. I hope to hell that does not happen.”

And yes, Bowles emphasized the word “hell.” And even in his stoic demeanor, Joe could tell the idea of Evans playing in a different uniform next season depresses Bowles.

And it depresses Joe too.

But that’s life in the NFL. Realities such as Evans’ future and David’s future hit hard on locker clean out day.

32 Responses to “Todd Bowles Doesn’t Even Want To Discuss Mike Evans Hitting Free Agency”

  1. D Cone Says:

    Miami needs more depth at linebacker and was a big reason they got bounced.
    David might want to finish his career there.

  2. Boss Says:

    LVD should retire and ME should go….

    tough decision, but probably best for all. I like LVD, I still have flashbacks of brooks staying too long and very much looking long in the tooth.

    Time to turn the page and they both go out on a high note.

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    If either David or Evans is concerned about legacy, like RoH and a lifetime of fan adulation, they’d retire as a Buccaneer and never wear another team’s uni.

    Maybe I’m a sentimental homer, but if Licht wants them back but they leave for Mo Monee, I would lose some respect for them.

  4. Conner50 Says:

    LVD was all over the field this year and played helluva game against the lions so don’t act like he’s staying too long. As for Evans your a moron to want him to walk

  5. Boss Says:

    evans makes this team one dimensional in the passing game.

  6. Kord Says:

    If you don’t want Evans and David back you crazy

  7. teacherman777 Says:


    I politely reject your opinions.

    LVD was crushing people this year. He had an amazing season.

    I want him back for 2 more. (At least)

    We need a SS/LB to play passing downs next to David next year

    We need a hybrid SS/LB to help on 3rd downs.

    Evans is not going anywhere.

    Disappearing Contracts?

    Brady, Jensen, Devin White, Barrett, Gage, Donovan Smith, Etc.

    We can afford to sign our core players.

    Evans, Wirfs, David, and Winfield are not going anywhere.

    They are cornerstone players. Franchise players.

  8. Doooshlarue Says:

    How can we let ME walk away?
    He catches EVERYTHING right?

  9. SlyPirate Says:

    QUESTION: Name 1 free agent Buc Licht wanted to resign that left for another team?

    Answer: You can’t.
    In fact, Licht is the only GM in history that returned all 22 starters after winning a Super Bowl. So, he’s historically the best ever at resigning FA.

    Licht wants to resign Evans. I wouldn’t get to wound up about it.

  10. stpetebucfan Says:

    It’s that time of year!!! I love discussing players and roster…I loathe that the NFL has loaded us with “time to root for the capologists”. I do not appreciate a competition of bean counters, trying to juggle salaries and arcane rules!

    Evaluating talent is another thing.

    LVD is STILL playing at a high level. The very first of what will be a gazillion pieces analyzing FA’s and Draft picks has already started.

    I saw an analysis of the top FA choices at LB. LVD was SECOND that list. And here was the eye opener…DW45 was five spots behind in 7th!

    London Fletcher played great till he was 38. LVD was not only able to do his job he was still one of the Bucs best playmakers when they had to have a play.

    The team should absolutely reup LVD unless HE wants to retire. He still has gas in the tank so I’m not talking about the obvious fan/emotional issues which even add to the need to sign LVD!!!

    I’m really curious as to where DW45 ends up? Not really worried much though if the Bucs lose him.

  11. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    We have so many free agents this year, I don’t even know who we could possibly trade.

    Doooshlarue Says
    “How can we let ME walk away?
    He catches EVERYTHING right?”

    Sarcasm. I see what you did there.

    But the drops are tolerable when he self corrects and starts scoring big plays.

  12. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Off hand, I’d say our most important players to re-sign are:

    Most Important

    Depending on Price and Budget

    Depending on Trade Opportunities

    There are others, but those are the minimum, right?

    Unfortunately, those top 4 are going to be very pricey.

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    It’s too bad White doesn’t have one more year on his deal…then we could try to trade him.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Maybe we can do an injury settlement with Ryan Jensen?

  15. Turk182 Says:

    It is up to the Glazers. Licht wanted to sign him this year. The Glazers did not. Now we have to hope the Glazers green light the deal. And we have to hope nobody offers him something we cannot compete with. He offered to stay for less a year ago in a team friendly deal. They said, play out your contract. They made him bet on himself. He did and he deserves to be in this position. Nobody can say anything about loyalty. He is loyal! He wants to stay. But after the Bucs dissed him this year, he now deserves the right to be courted. Now we have to put pressure on the Glazers to pay there losing bet and sign him to a market (or higher) contract. Don’t let him be a Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, Sapp. They never look right in another teams jerseys. ME13 is a Buc. Do the right thing Glazer family. You put yourself in this position.

  16. Turk182 Says:

    Remember…ME13 was Licht’s first draft pick ever. Jason wants and wanted to sign him. And if ME13 is not a life long Buc, who can be? What does one have to do to stick to a team for life? Mike has done everything asked of him. And he is a great guy in the community. My support of this team really depends on how the Glazers handle this.

  17. Armando Says:

    Anyone wanting/not caring if Lavonte and Mik3 leave are morons who need adult diapers – why would need a tackling machine and top ten WR?

  18. Milton Says:

    Has there been any word from THE BUCS about Bowles’ future?

  19. Bobby Says:

    Hope Licht doesn’t let Lavonte hit free agency

  20. Joe Says:

    It’s too bad White doesn’t have one more year on his deal…then we could try to trade him.

    For what, a used jock strap? Dude is a backup now at a starter’s salary. Who is going to trade for an expensive backup?

  21. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Joe, just stop. Making my sides hurt from laughing. Big Dev will be “free to explore the market and we thank him for his service.” Gage will be a post June 1 cut and add $10m in cap savings. Mayfield, Evans and Winfield will be back with backloaded contacts. And they’re gonna draft a stud Edge rusher R1. My crystal ball ran out of gas after that

  22. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Chop Robinson

  23. Ed Buc Fan Says:

    Why is no one looking at firing Bowles and bringing in Pete Carroll for 2 years and allow Canales to gain valuable experience as an OC then promote Canales to HC after that .

  24. Louis Friend Says:

    Joe – whichever one of you wrote this – absolutely one of the best posts I’ve seen submitted here. Thanks for a very person glimpse into the locker room.

  25. Tucker Says:

    This is a tough one for sure love Mike but man this team needs a game changing olb in a bad way cant rely on the blitz for pressure all the time I don’t think they can have both cap hit with Shaq is too much to release and no one is trading for him.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    No reason to be polite, Boss chooses to share his stupidity with us every day.

  27. Cardiac kidz Says:

    LVD and ME played this year as they did 5 years ago. They are not only producing but are leaders in the locker room. LVD is one of the smartest LBs in the league and ME is DC headache every week. He doesn’t make us one dimensional, it’s the .75 of a second the QB has to decide where to throw the ball. Get a great Center like we had in Jensen and ME will ball out for at least more years.

  28. BUCS4LIFE Says:

    One of the few times I’m seeing eye to eye with coach. I can’t even fathom the idea.

  29. BAKERSBucs says Says:

    Buckeye huck says hay can I borrow u r crystal ball mine sucks it makes no sense it must b malfunctioning do to Jason kelce shirt flew south

  30. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Why do you guys even argue with BOSS he isn’t a Bucs fan. Just a TROLL

  31. Dave Pear Says:

    I wonder if Mike Evans watch Todd’s defense melt like that with Todd reverting to Zone Bust, and doesn’t think about Atlanta with Baler and Belichick.

  32. Dave Pear Says:

    Todd – worst pass defense in the NFL. But at least he’s got guys who are built to play man who he forces to play zone, while forgetting how to coach guys to stop the run. At least he loves to play “keep it close” offense, as in, let’s punt on 4th and short and never use a timeout until the game is over, when you can’t.

    Fire this cloon yesterday. Areeggghh.