Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans during the Tom Brady era

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Mike Evans has experienced the most (and least) success of his career during this season, but he is not leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Speculation is a tough thing to avoid in sports. The smallest cues by players and coaches in the past have led to some significant trades and decisions, but fans can’t look too deep into what is currently transpiring with Mike Evans in Tampa Bay.

Evans has been one of the top receivers in the NFL during his time in the league. The last seven years have been heavily influenced by major plays, consistency, and excellent leadership. Even though he may not show up on the stat sheet in the same way now, Evans is not done in Tampa Bay.

Mike Evans was on pace to break a record that was set by Randy Moss for consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons to begin a career. The veteran receiver was the go-to man on a team that had few other offensive weapons, and the odds of breaking this record looked high to begin the season.

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Instead of building an entire offense around one talented receiver, the Buccaneers took a different approach. Tampa Bay moved on from Jameis Winston, who had established a relationship with Evans over the years, and they brought in Tom Brady and a bevy of offensive weapons.

Brady is a clear upgrade at the quarterback position, but Evans’ stats have dropped off.

Because Tom Brady doesn’t have to rely exclusively on Evans for yards, the Buccaneer offense has become far more effective. Defenses don’t know who to double team or focus on, and everyone is getting involved in the passing game in Tampa. This has led to speculation by the fantasy football players and the box score watchers.

“The Buccaneers have to move on from Mike Evans,” they say. “There is no way he is happy with this situation.” Why not?

Why would Mike Evans not be happy on a team that is winning more than at any point in his professional career? The Buccaneers are one of the best teams in the NFL and on a track to a deep playoff run, and the speculation is that Mike wants out because he isn’t a league-leader in receiving yards? Clearly, these people know very little about Mike Evans’ character.

Evans is not about the personal awards and the records. He always wants to play well and is hard on himself when he falls short, but his primary goal is team success-that is why he is one of the captains.

The past seven years have shown that Mike is always a team-first guy. When a guy gets knocked down, Evans is the first one there. When someone makes a huge play, Evans is celebrating too. The goal has always been team success and not personal glory.

Fortunately for Evans, the season isn’t over yet. His start hasn’t been perfect statistically, but Mike is only a few games off from being back on track. The record hopes should still be intact, but that isn’t the focus if the team is losing games.

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Evans will continue to draw double teams and penalties consistently, and in doing so, he makes the team better, which is his number one concern.