Mike Evans has agreed to a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Buccaneers, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The contract, which averages a $16.5 million per-year average, includes $55 million in guarantees, Rapoport added.
The deal makes him the NFL’s second highest-paid wide receiver after Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown ($17M per year average). The potential $82.5 million payout is the highest agreed upon figure for a wide receiver in league history, per NFL Research.
Locking down Evans to a long-term contract was one of Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht’s priorities heading into offseason. Selected No. 7 overall out of Texas A&M by the Bucs in the 2014 NFL Draft, Evans was heading into the option of year of his rookie contract.
It’d be difficult to overstate Evans’ value to the Winston-led Tampa offense. He’s one of only three players in NFL history to begin their careers with more than 1,000 receiving yards over four straight seasons — only Randy Moss (6) and A.J. Green (5) are ahead of him. In addition, the 2016 Pro Bowler ranks fifth in targets (580) and sixth in receiving yards (4,579) among all NFL receivers since 2014.
After just four seasons, Evans ranks third or better all-time in the Bucs’ major receiving categories: Receptions (309), receiving yards and receiving TDs (32).
With Evans under contract through the 2023 season, the Buccaneers can focus on bouncing back from a head-scratching 2017 campaign that saw the team finish at the bottom of the NFC South with a 5-11 mark. Although his ’17 numbers were a step down from the career highs he posted in 2016, Evans has established himself as one of the league’s prime pass-catchers.
Evans had this to say about his new deal with the Bucs: