The 2023 NFL trade deadline is Halloween afternoon, and if future Hall of Fame receiver Mike Evans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can't agree on a contract extension over the next week, Evans may well be dealt by that deadline because he's in a walk year and entering "what likely will be his final season," according to the Tampa Bay Times, without a deal.
Evans is in the final year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract and reportedly is eyeing something like the three-year, $80.1 million deal that Rams star wideout Cooper Kupp signed in 2022. Evans' agent, Deryk Gilmore, has set a deadline of next Saturday for getting a deal done, a day before the Bucs open at the Minnesota Vikings (-6), and said that there would be no talks after.
"Despite our efforts over the past two years, and the professionalism of Bucs General Manager, Jason Licht, and Assistant General Manager, Mike Greenberg, we have not received an offer to stay in Tampa," Gilmore said in the statement. "This is disappointing to Mike as he sees other teams step up to keep key pieces and players that are important to their organizations. … We have been working on extending Mike's career with the Bucs for over a year, and we want the fans to know this is not a tactic, and the ball is in the owner's court."
That Tampa Bay is somewhat in the midst of a rebuild could be a reason for its hesitancy to extend Evans long-term, even though the 30-year-old Evans said he wants to retire as a Buccaneer and is by far the best receiver in team history.
The No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 draft out of Texas A&M has set an NFL record with nine straight 1,000-yard seasons to open a career – he barely made it in 2017 (1,001 yards) and 2020 (1,006). The overall NFL record for consecutive 1,000-yard seasons is 11 by Jerry Rice. Evans admits he will never catch Rice in total catches, yards or TDs but believes that 1,000-yard mark is doable.
"It's right there, so I'm going to definitely try to go get that," he said this offseason. "I'm already one of one right now. I hope I can pass the great Jerry Rice and his record. Obviously nobody will pass his records, probably ever, in total. But that 1,000-yard streak record will be cool to have. I should get 1,000 yards if I'm healthy, every year. It ain't that. I want to be one of the tops in the leagues, I want to be winning games. That's what I care about."
Here are Mike Evans props active at DraftKings:
- To win Offensive Player of the Year: +15000
- To lead NFL in receiving yards: +6000
- To lead NFL in receiving TDs: +2000
- To lead NFL in receptions: +8000
- Over/Under 925.5 receiving yards: Under -140 favorite
- Over/Under 6.5 receiving TDs: Under -145 favorite
- Over/Under 65 receptions: Under -125 favorite
- To have at least 200 receiving yards in a game: +1000
- To have at least 150 receiving yards in a game: -110
- To have at least eight 100-yard games: +300
Evans' 10,425 receiving yards and 81 touchdowns each rank in the top three in the NFL since he entered the league. He is one of five players all-time to have 10,000-plus receiving yards and 80-plus receiving touchdowns through his first nine seasons. The others are all Hall of Famers: Rice, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison and Calvin Johnson. Evans certainly will be in Canton someday.
He had the good fortune of catching passes from Tom Brady the past three seasons. Now it will be Baker Mayfield, so one can understand why his yardage total is below 1,000. Evans has 33 career 100-yard games in the regular season, and the Bucs are only 13-20 in those. His career high was 209 yards on Nov. 16, 2014, vs. Washington but had 207 in Week 17 last season vs. Carolina.
The Bucs have never had an Offensive Player of the Year, and realistically Evans won't be ending that drought in 2023. Tampa Bay never has had a player lead the league in receiving yards, receiving TDs or receptions, either. Evans does hold the team record of 1,524 yards in 2018, when Julio Jones led with 1,677 for Atlanta. Evans' 14 TD catches in 2021 also are a franchise best. Kupp led that year with 16 en route to Offensive Player of the Year honors. Keyshawn Johnson holds the Bucs record with 106 catches in 2001.
For Week 1 at the Vikings, the SportsLine Projection Model forecasts Evans for 4.0 catches, 59 yards and 0.31 TDs.
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