Derrick Brooks lays out one scenario he wouldn't want Mike Evans back with Bucs

The Hall of Famer explains one thing that could get Mike Evans to run away from Tampa Bay.
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Anyone who thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason was going to be smoother than last year -- which was almost everyone -- received a nice little surprise this past week.

Dave Canales bolted to take a job as Carolina Panthers head coach, and that move has now discombobulated a few others the Bucs needed to make. Two of the biggest names set to hit the free agent market are Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans, and the loss of Canales complicates how Tampa Bay will proceed with attempting to bring them back.

Quick aside: Antoine Winfield Jr is the biggest name hitting the market but there's a near-zero chance he gets away. If the Bucs let Winfield slip through to another team, it might be time to pack it in.

Both Baker and Evans have indicated they'd like to return, but have mentioned repeatedly how important it is that they remain linked. No ultimatums have been handed out, yet, but the two players have made it abundantly clear what needs to happen to bring them back.

There are plenty of ways that happens, but Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks is looking beyond the obvious and to a potential situation in which he thinks Evans not only won't come back but shouldn't even consider it.

Derrick Brooks explains one scenario he wouldn't want Mike Evans back with Bucs

Obviously, everyone would prefer if Mike Evans returned to Tampa Bay and spent his entire career with the Buccaneers. There are certain caveats to that, though, something that Derrick Brooks pointed out in a recent chat with Ian Beckles.

As Brooks explains, if the Bucs aren't going to bring back Baker Mayfield and want to hand the keys to a young quarterback, they should let Evans walk in free agency. His stance is less about the team and more about putting Evans in the best position to continue his career.

“I don’t want Mike at this point in his career dealing with a young quarterback and the growth path that takes," Brooks said. "The productivity is still high, but can that productivity sustain itself with a young quarterback versus a veteran quarterback? And you think about the last three years, his numbers have been there because of who’s been at quarterback. A veteran quarterback has been here. So I would like to say that’s been the path of success. I’d like him to stay on it versus a young quarterback.”

It hurts to hear that, but Brooks isn't wrong. What's best for Evans might not line up with what's best for the team -- even if it seems those two things should be pretty closely linked.

The good news is that this seems like an extreme scenario. Even with Dave Canales gone, the Bucs re-signing Baker and Evans remains the most likely outcome. If we're talking about what's best for the team, running things back with two of the most important pieces from last year seems like a no-brainer.

Where things might get complicated is the cost of making it all happen. Baker was already due for a sizable payday and knowing he'll be working with yet another new offensive coordinator might drive up his price. Evans already seemed far apart from where the team was on a contract offer before the season, and yet another historic year of production certainly won't take zeroes off his upcoming deal.

All signs point toward a reunion, but we've already been thrown a curveball this offseason. It seems Baker and Evans are closely linked, and if one goes then it doesn't bode well for the other remaining in Tampa Bay next season.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and rumors