Bucs, Mike Evans agree to 2-year, $52M contract, agent says

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and five-time Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans reached agreement on a two-year, $52 million contract that includes $35 million guaranteed, his agent, Deryk Gilmore, told ESPN on Monday.

Evans, who was to enter free agency next week, now has a real chance to start and finish his career as a “Buc for life” in Tampa.

Gilmore said the deal, which averages $26 million per season, is the largest for a wide receiver this old on his third contract. It is a front-loaded contract, with $29 million of the $44 million base value due at signing.

“Fire Them Cannons!” Evans posted to Instagram on Monday.

Bringing back Evans not only will help the Buccaneers’ offense but also will serve as another catalyst in the recruitment to re-sign free agent quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has said he hopes to continue playing with the standout receiver.

“He’s an unprecedented player. We want him to be a Buc for life,” general manager Jason Licht said last week at the NFL combine.

Evans had been prepared to enter free agency when the negotiating period begins March 11. He was projected to be one of the top — if not the top — wide receivers available via free agency. The Kansas City Chiefs, among others, were expected to be interested.

Other top free agent wide receivers include Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Calvin Ridley, Odell Beckham Jr. and Michael Thomas.

The Bucs and Evans were unsuccessful in working out a deal before the start of the 2023 regular season, with discussions tabled until after the season when a Sept. 9 deadline was passed.

Evans, 30, brushed aside that disappointment and put together one of the best performances of his career, tying for a league-leading 13 receiving touchdowns — the first time he has finished atop the leaderboard in touchdowns.

He reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the 10th straight season — an NFL record for the start of a career and just one shy of tying Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s overall record.

He posted multi-touchdown performances against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12 and Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16, and games with 100-plus yards against the Chicago Bears in Week 2, Tennessee Titans in Week 10 and Carolina Panthers in Week 13.

The Bucs selected Evans seventh overall in the 2014 NFL draft, making him Licht’s first draft selection as general manager. Since then, Evans has become one of the NFL’s marquee receivers, with five Pro Bowl selections (2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2023).

A three-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, Evans and wife Ashli’s Mike Evans Family Foundation has provided over $470,000 in scholarships to students in Florida and Texas, while also assisting victims of domestic violence. In 2023, Evans authored a children’s book called “The Middle School Rules of Mike Evans,” highlighting the adversity Evans faced in losing his father, Mickey, and growing up in Galveston post-Hurricane Ike.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.

First appeared on www.espn.com

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