4 realistic replacements for Mike Evans if he leaves Buccaneers

  • Free agency figures to be limited
  • Draft prospects are probably the best option
  • In the end, Evans should stick around

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike Evans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike Evans / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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This offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a handful of key free agents they'd like to bring back.

Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans are the top two names on offense, with Antoine Winfield Jr. being the big one on defense.

While Evans and the Bucs would ideally end up extending their relationship, what happens if Evans decides to sign elsewhere?

Who could the Bucs pursue to replace Evans if he does end up leaving? Let's assume free agency is limited, with the Bengals either tagging or re-signing Tee Higgins and the Indianapolis Colts re-signing Michael Pittman Jr.

There are a couple of realistic veterans the Bucs could pursue, plus two key draft prospects in the first round which make sense. Let's start with the veteran free agents.

Calvin Ridley

Once again, free agency might end up being limited due to the new NFL salary cap being even higher than anticipated. That will give teams a higher chance at keeping their top guys. So, the best available wideout might end up being Calvin Ridley, whom the Bucs are familiar with from his time with the Atlanta Falcons.

Ridley is smaller than Evans at 6-foot-1, but he can still line up on the outside just like Evans normally does. Ridley is coming off a season that saw him catch 76 passes for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. The Jaguars could extend Ridley, but probably won't do it before the new league year begins as it would then result in Jacksonville giving up a second-round pick to Atlanta rather than a third.

The Jags will likely wait until the new league year begins, which will give other teams a run at Ridley if they'd like.

Let's be very clear: Ridley is a significant downgrade from Evans, as is this next guy.