Mike Evans desires a new contract with the Buccaneers by Week 1. Mike Evans, a four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and team captain, has set a Week 1 deadline to receive a new contract from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with his agent indicating that he will seek employment elsewhere in 2024 if no agreement is reached.
In a press release on Friday, Evans’ agent, Day 1 Sports and Entertainment, stated that the wide receiver “wants the next phase of his career to be with a team that wants him and wants him to help win a Super Bowl.”
“Therefore, we have informed the Buccaneers organization that we will cease contract negotiations effective September 9, 2023,” the agency said.
The Buccaneers’ regular season begins on September 10 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Evans said, “I want to be in camp and practice to help Baker [Mayfield] get ready so we can win this season.” “I don’t want to be a holdout and hurt our team.”
Evans is in the final year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed in March 2018. He will earn a base salary of $13 million and receive a roster incentive of $1.5 million in March. His current contract contains three void years between 2024 and 2026.
According to Deryk Gilmore, Evans’ agent, the Buccaneers do not want to pay two receivers more than $20 million annually. Chris Godwin, another Pro Bowl wide receiver, is entering the second year of a three-year, $60 million contract with $40 million guaranteed.
Day 1 stated in a press release that Evans has yet to be offered a new contract to remain in Tampa Bay.
“We have been working on extending Mike’s career with the Bucs for over a year, and we want the fans to know that this is not a tactic and the ball is in the owner’s court,” the agency said. “However, we are giving the Bucs until the beginning of the regular season to make him a Buc for Life, and if that does not happen, Mike’s sole focus will be on football, his future, and where he can continue to have an impact.”
Last month, Evans expressed his desire to remain in Tampa Bay, a sentiment echoed in Day 1’s press release.
“It’s no secret that I want to be a Buc for life,” he declared. “Nowadays, it is uncommon for individuals to remain on a team as long as I have. I wish to conclude here.”
But Evans desires compensation commensurate with his abilities and contributions.
Evans is the first athlete in NFL history to begin his career with nine consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with the same team. He is third in NFL history behind Jerry Rice (14) and Randy Moss (10) for most seasons with 1,000 yards. Evans also holds nearly every receiving record for the Buccaneers, including most career touchdowns (81), receptions (683), and receiving yards (10,500).
In addition, he is one of the most visible philanthropic figures in the Tampa Bay area. He and his wife, Ashli, recently awarded 15 high school students $170,000 in college scholarships, and he has personally contributed $345,000 to scholarships since 2017.
When asked on Thursday if the Buccaneers would make additional roster adjustments to create contract space for Evans’ re-signing, general manager Jason Licht replied, “There are a few things we can do. We have some notions about what to do in this situation, which we wish to keep confidential. There are a few options available.”
The contract of retired quarterback Tom Brady continues to cost the Buccaneers $35 million against their salary cap this season. In 2023, their $76.76 million in dead money is the most of any NFL franchise. Next season, they will have $46,91,000,000 in salary cap space.
The team restructured the contract of center Ryan Jensen, who was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season last week. Evans has restructured his contract three times to allow for greater flexibility under the salary limit. Russell Gage, also placed on injured reserve, took a pay reduction to remain with the team this offseason.
Evans, linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, safety Antoine Winfield Jr., and left tackle Tristan Wirfs are among the Buccaneers’ Pro Bowl players up for new contracts in 2024. White caused a stir during the offseason when he publicly requested a trade after contract negotiations stalled, but he will play on his fifth-year option in 2023.