ESPN: Buccaneers are going to make 'major' push to re-sign Mike Evans

The Bucs aren't prepared to let Mike Evans leave in free agency without putting up a fight.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages

A major hinge on which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason swings is what happens with Mike Evans.

After a decade with the Bucs, Evans is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career which has fans in Tampa Bay nervous about losing him and 31 other teams in the league ready to steal him away. Evans showed absolutely no signs of slowing down this past season crossing the 1,000-yard mark for the tenth consecutive time and tying Tyreek Hill for most touchdowns.

He was a key part of the Bucs offense, even if he was frustratingly misused at times, and it seems vital that the team finds a way to bring him back. When teams like the Chiefs, Jets, and Lions are all reported as potential landing spots, that's a pretty clear sign of how important a player is.

While things don't seem to have moved much from where they were left back in Week 1, it sounds like the Bucs are preparing to do all they can to bring back the best offensive player in franchise history.

Buccaneers working to bring back Mike Evans in 'a major way'

Earlier this offseason it was reported that the Bucs and Evans were 'far apart' on a deal, but that wasn't really as major as it seemed. Neither side had talked about a contract since before the season when Evans gave an ultimatum that wasn't met.

From that point it was all business, with both sides knowing talks would restart after the season. It seems we've reached that point.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, who appeared on SportsCenter Sunday morning, the Buccaneers are going to try and bring back Mike Evans in "a major way". Fowler also reiterated rumblings that Evans wants to retire after having spent his whole career in Tampa Bay, something that Evans has been vocal about since the start of this whole process.

It's not shocking that the two sides were 'far apart' at the beginning of the offseason because that's where things were left. Now that free agency is a few weeks away, the time has come to start making progress toward at least seeing where the middle ground it.

All signs point toward Evans hitting the open market, but that shouldn't be misinterpreted as a point of no return. By talking with other teams, Evans can establish his value and the Bucs will have a more concrete number to work with.

Further helping the cause is a historic salary cap increase. Tampa Bay created over $10 million in space thanks to the league setting the cap at $255.4 million this year. That might mean bigger offers from other teams, but also means the Bucs have more wiggle room to match a higher figure.

Based on what Fowler reported, it sounds like that's the route the team is willing to go in order to bring Evans back.

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