Mike Evans confirms free agency speculation around Texans and Chiefs

It sounds like the Bucs were closer to losing Mike Evans than we all realize.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacksonville Jaguars v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

One of the biggest free agency dominos fell before the legal tampering period even opened.

Mike Evans was set to test the free agent market for the first time in his career, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to hammer out an extension just nick of time. Rather than potenitally lose him, a possibilty that had been looming in the background of everything Evans did last season, the Bucs gave him a $52 million contract that will keep him in Tampa Bay through the 2025 season.

At that point, we'll do this whole song and dance again -- although working out a deal ahead of time seems to be something Jason Licht very much wants to do. Evans has indicated all along that he'd like to retire having played his whole career in Tampa Bay, but it turns out we came closer to that not happening than we all realize.

Mike Evans addresses free agency speculation around Texans and Chiefs

Evans stopped by TexAgs Radio to talk about, among other things, how close he came to becoming a free agent this offseason. He confirmed that the decision to re-sign came down to the last minute and mentioned Houston as a place high on the list of potential destinations.

It's the warm mention of the Texans that should make Bucs fans happy a deal got done when it did.

"Going [to Houston] would have been cool. I'm from Galveston, went to A&M, and Houston is right in the middle of all that," Evans said. "It would have been cool to be a free agent and see what other teams had to offer and get all the love. But Tampa has shown me plenty of love, and it's a place I want to be for the rest of my career."

He also mentioned the Chiefs as a potential destination he had in mind, mostly due to hearing about it so much, but ultimately didn't want to go anywhere else.

"Everybody wanted me to play in Houston, or they wanted me to play with the Chiefs," Evans said. "At the end of the day, I was gonna go back to Tampa."

Thank goodness the Bucs were able to work out a deal because it sounds like Evans was closer to being gone than we all wanted to realize. Had he hit the market there was still a chance Evans would have returned and the act of testing free agency would have served the purpose of a third party establishing a firm price that the Bucs needed to match.

Based on his comments, though, the possibility of Tampa Bay getting outbid by Houston seemed pretty high.

Kansas City never really had the cap space to make a move, although getting a future Hall of Famer like Evans is a move you bend over backward to make happen. That's why it seemed so outrageous that the Bucs let the process get as far as it did.

Tampa Bay came as close as it ever has to losing the best offensive player in franchise history, but it sounds like the whole situation just reminded everyone how perfect things already are and that the balance isn't worth upsetting.

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