We started the season with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the team when it came to how Mike Evans fit into the future. He's one of the best receivers in the league, something he firmly established yet again, but he's playing without a contract beyond this season.
It's not that the Bucs don't want to bring Evans back, but by not caving to his demands the team created a scenario where the best offensive player in franchise history could be lured to another contender for top dollar. The struggles Kansas City had at receiver could mean the Chiefs open up the checkbook to bring in Evans, or there's the potential for the New York Jets to swoop in and add him to their revenge tour next season.
Evans proved his point, showing up this year in a way that makes it pretty undeniable that he's worth every penny he asked for last offseason. He wants to stay in Tampa Bay, and a win on Monday would present a case for Evans to reconsider leaving to win a Super Bowl elsewhere and remain with the Bucs to do it here.
If the Bucs pull out a victory on Monday it could show Evans that his best landing spot is the place he's always been. When he made his contract demands before Week 1, the fear was that the Bucs would sink and prove themselves unworthy of Evans spending more time with the team.
There are still potential hurdles to clear when it comes to playcalling, as a consistent source of frustration this year has been how Evans hasn't been properly used despite another year of insane stats. A Wild Card win might make a lot of that go away, especially if it happens in a way that features Evans the way he should be.
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