3 teams emerge as potential threats to steal Mike Evans away from Buccaneers

Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

Even though the NFL offseason doesn't officially start until next month, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers already know what their top priorities will be. Re-signing both Antoine Winfield Jr. and Baker Mayfield became more obvious as the season wore on, but finding a way to bring back Mike Evans has been something the team has known needs to be done since before Week 1.

Evans giving the team an ultimatum helped push them in that direction, but everything the future Hall of Famer has done this year happened against the backdrop of him needing a new deal. And everything he did proved he deserves it.

To his credit, Evans has stated all along that he hopes to spend his entire career in Tampa Bay but has been clear about not settling for less to do it. He's long been underrated throughout the league, and that was a refrain that grew louder this season thanks to so many teams being able to have a chance to steal him away.

As the offseason approaches and emphasis on a new deal grows, exactly who the competition for Evans will be is starting to get clear.

3 teams emerge as potential threats to steal Mike Evans away from Bucs

While reporting on the likeliest outcomes for the Bucs three biggest free agents this offseason, NFL on CBS insider Jonathan Jones highlighted three teams that could get in on the market for Mike Evans.

"The Buccaneers are likely to have competition for Evans if he hits the open market. Teams like the Chiefs, Jets, and Panthers are all expected to be in the market for a receiver. A player who consistently racks up 1,000 yards and would serve as a quality veteran presence in a locker room would be attractive to just about any team out there," Jones reported.

Carolina sticks out a bit in this list. While the connection with Dave Canales is there, the Panthers seem to be much further off a Super Bowl track than some of the other potential landing spots for Evans.

New York continues to lurk around the situation, having made headlines earlier this year for reportedly contacting the Bucs to inquire about Evans' availability in a trade. Exactly when the Jets made that request was up for debate, but it's clear that the team is interested in Evans heading into the offseason.

Kansas City is in that same boat, as while its interest hasn't been as outright the situation is perhaps even better than the one presented by New York. The idea of Evans playing with Patrick Mahomes is almost unfair to imagine, let alone combating it as a sales pitch when thinking about ways to convince him to return to Tampa Bay.

What works in the Bucs' favor is Evans repeatedly stating he wants to spend his entire career with the Buccaneers. That would seemingly imply the team has the inside track on bringing him back -- something Baker Mayfield has been clear about wanting to see happen.

Despite interest from potential Super Bowl contending teams, Evans returing to the Bucs still feels like the most likely outcome. The only question is whether the team will be willing to pay enough to make it happen.

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