With roughly 72 hours remaining in the standoff between Mike Evans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it feels like something is going to happen.
Or maybe not. Perhaps things stay as they are and Mike Evans walks away from the negotiating table as he’s threatened to do. The Bucs apparently have until Saturday to either come to terms with Evans on a contract extension or accept the fact that this is the future Hall of Famer’s final year with the team.
Talks between Evans and the Bucs seemed to be headed in the right direction earlier this offseason, but that all changed last weekend. Evans came flying off the top rope, seemingly out of nowhere, in an attempt to force Tampa Bay’s hand.
The ultimatum didn’t do much to budge the Bucs, but it did whip the national spotlight back onto the team. Tampa Bay was already pegged as a team in need of a rebuild by pundits, and the idea of losing Evans stoked those coals even more than they already had been.
Buccaneers Rumors: ESPN tosses Chris Godwin into the trade rumors fire
NFL insider Dan Graziano looked at the Bucs situation with Evans but highlighted another receiver he thinks could get traded before the season is over. It’s not a very long list of candidate, so you can probably guess where he went with this.
That’s right, Chris Godwin is now being sucked into the gravitational pull of trade rumors.
"Moving Evans or Godwin to a contender (assuming, as we are, that the Bucs aren’t one) at the deadline would help with that project. Evans is the more movable one, because he’s making just $13 million in salary this year and is a free agent at year’s end, while Godwin has a (non-guaranteed) $20 million due in 2024. But you’ll hear these names kicked around in October for sure," Graziano wrote.
It’s fair to assume that Godwin could be a trade asset for the Bucs if they decide to tear things down and rebuild. However, we need to back way up here because almost all of the logic rests on the idea that the Bucs aren’t going to be contenders this season.
There’s a chance the team isn’t good, but there’s absolutely zero chance the team isn’t making an active effort to be competitive. At no point during the offseason did the Bucs make moves that indicated even the slightest inkling of a tank job being set up. Both Jamel Dean and Lavonte David were re-signed, and there’s no way Baker Mayfield abandons all hope to restore his reputation in order to sign with a team that isn’t trying to win.
It could end up that the Bucs are indeed one of the worst teams in the league, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.
Trading away one of the best players on the team is the exact opposite of what the team spent the offseason doing. If they were going to trade Evans it would have happened already, and the same goes for Godwin. Maybe things will change, but it’s still hard to see the team punting halfway through the season when jobs and reputations are very much on the line.