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    Mike Evans next NFL team odds: Texans, Jets, Bears, Patriots favorites in free agency if Pro Bowl receiver leaves Buccaneers

    Star Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans is officially a free agent.
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    Future Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Evans isn't just the greatest receiver in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history, he's the greatest offensive player ever for the franchise – Tom Brady was there at the tail end of his career and not long enough to qualify. Evans and the Bucs had an important deadline pass Monday, so he's poised for free agency. SportsLine offers odds on his next team.

    The contracts of Evans and quarterback Baker Mayfield voided on Monday, meaning Tampa Bay took on about $14.5 million in dead money as a result. If the Bucs had signed Evans to a new deal prior to that deadline, they would have avoided more than $7 million of the dead money.

    I reached out to a former Tampa Tribune co-worker who runs the very popular JoeBucsFan website and asked him what he thought about Evans' future, and here's what he said: "He wants to be back but he wants to get paid. Him and Mayfield have grown tight. I asked Mayfield at the Super Bowl what the percentages were of Evans coming back if he (Mayfield) re-signs first. 'Pretty high.' "

    Evans' current contract doesn't officially expire until March 11, when all 31 other teams are free to begin negotiating with the five-time Pro Bowler. This past season, the 30-year-old bonded well with Mayfield, catching 79 passes for 1,225 yards and an NFL-co-leading 13 touchdowns. It was Evans' 10th straight 1,000-yard season to open his career, a league record. If he has another in 2024, he would tie Jerry Rice for the longest overall streak of 1,000-yard receiving seasons in league history.

    Evans is the Bucs' longest-tenured player and all-time leader in catches (762), receiving yards (11,680) and receiving touchdowns (94). CBS Sports ranks him as the No. 2 free agent receiver potentially on the market behind Cincinnati's Tee Higgins, who reportedly will get slapped with the franchise tag. The Bucs are expected to use theirs on All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Tuesday was the first day NFL teams could start assigning franchise tags.

    Nothing is stopping Evans and the Bucs from still agreeing on a deal. There was simply some financial motivation for the team to get it done by Monday. It's quite possible that Evans could sit and wait to see whether the Bucs can re-sign Mayfield as Evans might not want to be in something of a rebuilding situation if Kyle Trask is the new QB. Tampa Bay also lost offensive coordinator Dave Canales as he's the new head coach in Carolina – which is why the Panthers are a candidate for Evans' services. They have a ton of money to spend and a massive need.

    If Evans wants to sniff another Super Bowl soon, the Panthers should be out. He's from the Houston area, so a fit with the rising Texans and young superstar QB CJ Stroud makes a ton of sense. Chicago has a lot of cap space and a need at wideout opposite star DJ Moore. Would Evans want to start over with a rookie QB like Caleb Williams?

    The Jets were an offensive disaster in 2023 but of course that was mainly due to Aaron Rodgers going down in the opener. New York doesn't have a true No. 2 wideout opposite former Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, and Rodgers is known as a good recruiter – his recruitment of former Packers wideouts Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb was a disaster this past season as they both bombed. Young Jets star cornerback Sauce Gardner is already recruiting Evans on social media.

    New England is about in the same boat as Carolina as the Patriots are rebuilding and likely will also be starting a new young quarterback in 2024 via the third overall pick in the draft.

    You hear a lot of scuttlebutt about Evans to the Chiefs, but they have defensive star Chris Jones and others to re-sign first, and Patrick Mahomes has proven he doesn't need a star wideout to win Super Bowls. He's won two rings since Tyreek Hill was traded to Miami.

    Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Which will be Mike Evans' Week 1 team in 2024?

    • Buccaneers +150
    • Texans +300
    • Jets +600
    • Bears +700
    • Patriots +900
    • Panthers +1000
    • Titans +1100
    • Ravens +1200
    • Cardinals +1300
    • Falcons +1400
    • Chiefs +1500
    • Colts +2000

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