The crescendoing Mike Evans contract drama looms large as Tampa Bay gets ready for their season opener.
Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans is the undisputed best offensive player in team history. Evans is likely going to the Hall of Fame. Before Canton calls, he will retire and soon after find his name forever inscribed in Raymond James Stadium.
Drafted in 2014, Mike Evans was Jason Licht’s first draft selection as Tampa’s general manager and has a high probability of being the best one he’ll ever make. Out of Texas A&M, Evans has journeyed from number seven overall pick to number one in every notable receiving metric in Bucs history. The lore of Tampa Bay football cannot be told without mention of Evans, so—
What’s going on?
Well, Mike Evans has one year left on his current deal. Like most star players, he and his agent have reached out to the Bucs attempting to work on an extension before the contract runs out. This is common practice around the league, nothing out of place. Unfortunately for the Bucs organization (and perhaps more so the fanbase), there is a Super Bowl tax which is still very much a reality in Tampa Bay. Contractually, Tom Brady took much less money than he could have commanded, however the endeavor of bringing Tom Brady to Tampa was costly. Though indirect, these moments are those costs—
The Bucs hard-nosed negotiation with fellow Tampa Bay legend Lavonte David and now having to muddle through another parley with Mike Evans (two players as worthy as any, to receive new contracts) represent the repercussions of past deeds.
Would the Bucs like to keep Mike Evans? Naturally. The reality is cap space is scarce and Evans is not the only Buccaneer who could be commanding a big payday come season’s end. This leaves the Bucs with limited resources that they need to attempt to spread around.
There’s no doubt, Tampa Bay (organizationally and fans alike) would go back and make the same decisions again, given the chance. Trading cap space for a championship is an easy call, but moments like these are the points in time where the piper must be paid and to the dismay of Bucs fans and their favorite star receiver— Mike Evans does not appear to be the piper.
What do you think? Does this deal get done?
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