Not that long ago it seemed like only a matter of time before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Mike Evans reached a contact extension.
It now seems all of that is in the rear view.
Despite there reportedly being mutual interest between Evans and the Bucs to get a deal done, the latest update seems to suggest the two sides will go their separate ways after this upcoming season.
According to Tampa Bay Times insider Rick Stroud, contract talks between the Bucs and Mike Evans have stalled and will likely end with the franchise legend playing somewhere else next season.
“With talks about a contract extension at an impasse, the greatest offensive weapon in club history is playing what likely will be his final season in Tampa Bay,” Stroud reported late Thursday.
Evans is slated to be a free agent at the end of the season.
Mike Evans leaving the Bucs would be soul crushing
While this is a massive bummer of an update, it’s only mildly surprising. Evans has been underpaid his entire career and is in line for what could the last truly major contract of his career. He turned 30 years old earlier this month, but is still a top receiver in the league and wants to be paid like one — rightfully so.
The list of wide receivers higher paid than Evans but less talented is embarrassingly long. It sounds like he wants something in the neighborhood of Cooper Kupp’s deal with the Rams, which would be a three-year, $80.1 million deal.
A deal like that seems on par with what Evans is worth. Earlier this offseason a $20M AAV was tossed around, which was a much more palatable number for the cash-strapped Bucs.
If Evans wants closer to $26 million per year, that might be a price the Bucs are unwilling to pay.
Should he leave, it would be a brutal blow to the entire franchise. Evans is not only the best offensive player the Bucs have ever had, he’s a beloved fan-favorite. He’s a future Hall of Famer, a lock for the Bucs Ring of Honor, but it’s looking increasingly like he won’t be among the very select group of all-time greats to have spent their entire careers in Tampa Bay.