Earlier this month, Evans’ agent set a deadline for an extension for Saturday, telling the Bucs, “when you have a player that will be a Hall of Famer and still has four to six more years to make an impact in the league, you move Heaven and Earth to keep him on your team.”
Tampa Bay didn’t move heaven or earth but also didn’t moved Evans. Call it a wash.
The four-time Pro Bowl WR is set to count $23.7 million against the cap in 2023. Tampa Bay would carry $9.2 million in dead money this season if it traded the veteran.
Evans said earlier this week that his focus remained on the field despite his off-field demands and was looking forward to “having a great season” whether or not he got a new deal.
“Ownership and management are going to do what they feel is best for the team and the team’s future, and I’ma do what’s best for me and my future,” Evans said. “Right now, that’s just playing good ball.”
If the Bucs were to part with Evans, they’d be letting go of one of the most reliable pass catchers in recent NFL history. Evans has recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his nine NFL seasons. Having never led the league in either receptions, receiving yards or receiving touchdowns, he remains underrated for his era, but apparently not by the Bucs, who still value his presence in what is expected to be a rebuilding year.
Evans and Chris Godwin are expected to hold down the receiver corps again for the Buccaneers, who traded in seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady for former first-overall pick Baker Mayfield at quarterback. The pair’s experience should prove invaluable as Tampa Bay’s offense, coordinated by first-time OC Dave Canales, goes through expected growing pains.
If Sunday’s news is any indication, this season may be the duo’s swan song.