Grading the Buccaneers first 8 moves of free agency

How did the Buccaneers do on the first day of free agency this year?

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages
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Re-signed Mike Evans to two-year, $52M deal

A little over a week ago it seemed like a certainty that Mike Evans would test free agency for the first time in his career. Instead, he agreed to a two-year deal a few days later and will continue his Hall of Famer career in the place where it all started.

Of the Bucs' three big free agents, Evans was always the wild card but he ended up being the first one to re-sign. It's a win-win deal, as Evans gets paid like the top receiver he is but the structure of the deal allows for some flexibility on Tampa Bay's end. While the deal was initially reported as being with $52 million -- which is technically true -- the Bucs are only on the hook for $41 million in base salary.

The other $11 million is tied to incentives, which is the surest sign that Evans both wanted to be back in Tampa Bay and believes in where the team is going. He won't get that money unless he hits performance triggers, which means he's essentially investing his money into the team.

If the Bucs' offense underperforms, Evans won't get paid -- buy-in doesn't get more literal than that.

Additionally, it seems like Evans might have been able to get a bigger deal to play elsewhere but chose to stay in Tampa Bay. It's what he had been hinting at all season but the threat of him leaving was looming larger the closer to the tampering period we got. Evans told his agent that he wants to be a 'Buc for Life', and while a nice new contract helps make it happen in practice, hearing him say that remains priceless to fans.

Grade: A+