On Monday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager, Jason Licht, addressed the media for his annual pre-draft press conference.

Among plenty of questions regarding the NFL draft, what the NFL side is planning and who the Bucs may be targeting, Licht announce that the team picked up Mike Evans’ fifth-year option from his rookie contract earlier that morning.

In his three years with the Buccaneers, Evans has recorded three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, scoring 27 touchdown in the process.

When it came to discussing his future with the organization beyond his rookie deal, Licht was very adamant to say he wants Evans to be around for a long, long time.

“I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for everyone here – I know I am – when I say that I hope Mike is a Buc for life. Today we picked up his fifth-year option. It wasn’t a very tough decision, and we’ll take it from there. I can promise you at some point, I can’t tell you when, but we’ll be contacting his agent to try to make him an offer that will make him a Buc for the long term.”

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I was wondering when they were goingt to do this. Mike will be a Buc for a long time. Go Bucs!

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
5 years ago

This means, most likely, no big contract extension for Mike Evans this calendar year, contrary to what was being reported and predicted here at PR and by a lot of commenters. This action takes 2017 off the table. The Bucs will start a conversation with Mike’s agent this year, most likely, but this action removes the pressure of trying to get something done this year. In the meantime Mike is guaranteed against injury through the 2018 season, and will be paid a minimum of the average of the top ten wide receivers that year. This year the top ten are… Read more »

jshumaker
jshumaker
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

I don’t know much about how these options work but I don’t see why it would take a contract extension off the table for this year. I think it makes sense to give him the big payday now and therefore spread out the cap hit by an extra year at the minimum

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  jshumaker
5 years ago

The only reason to exercise the fifth year option now (nearly a year early) is to take away the hard deadline of the 2018 off-season and the beginning of unrestricted free agency. That takes away leverage from Evans’ agent that could otherwise be used to force a more player-friendly contract. And Licht can do it again the following year by declaring Evans our franchise player. I have read in local media that Bucs insiders are saying the Bucs were not only going to exercise the fifth year option this year – completely contrary to what the PR writers were writing… Read more »

jshumaker
jshumaker
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

I am very much in favor of Licht using hardball strategies to get our players signed as cheaply as possible. But from a cap standpoint, why not take the hit now while they have the room? By using the threat of a future franchise tag, they can force Evans to sign at a more reasonable rate.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  jshumaker
5 years ago

The reasons for not taking the cap hit now are many: 1) A dollar not spent today is available tomorrow. 2) The cap is rising every year, along with NFL revenues, so putting off until next year or the year after is always better than taking a hit now when the cap is much lower. 3) The player – Mike Evans – isn’t going anywhere else, and he will be happy to get a pay raise to boot. The Bucs made it clear they want him for his whole career. He will get paid (as I wrote above, he’ll get… Read more »

BucWild02
BucWild02
5 years ago

I think the Bucs are simply following a protocol. I would expect Mike to get the extension sooner rather than later. This move gives the front office time to put a deal together after the draft. Great move and totally expected.

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

Playing “hardball”? What a ridiculous comment. What I read was that the Bucs exercised the 2018 5th year option (unlike declining to do it when Doug Martin’s option came up) and are already planning to “pay the man”. Mike is just now entering his 4th season. I read no reference to franchising him in 2019 in spite of that being an option.