Mike Evans deserves to be paid. And sooner rather than later.

Glancing over the NFL key dates and offseason calendar, January 2 was the date that NFL teams could begin negotiating or extending contracts for players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Of that draft, that included Kevin Pamphile. Charles Sims and the troubled tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the biggest name that stands out is Evans.

Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images

In his first three seasons in the NFL, the talents Texas A&M product, and overall No. 7 draft pick, has been nothing short of spectacular, with 238 receptions for  3,578 yards and 27 touchdowns. Locking Evans up to a new contract and extending his deal would give Bucs fans – and quarterback Jameis Winston – piece of mind for years to come, while also showing other players that if the Bucs draft you, and you produce, you will be rewarded.

Getting a deal done now with Evans also would most likely save the team money long term. Beating the Giants to the punch who will most likely be looking to extend Odell Beckham Jr. soon, would help set the market, but at their terms.

General manager Jason Licht and his right hand man Mike Greenberg, were able to do that when they signed defensive tackle Gerald McCoy prior to him becoming a free agent to a seven-year $98 million deal. The Lions weren’t unable to get a deal done with their 2010 top draft pick Ndamukong Suh, and the former Nebraska standout ended up signing a six-year, $144 deal with $60 million guaranteed with the Dolphins.

Paying Evans won’t come cheap, as recent receiver deals have sent many players into a whole other tax bracket. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones signed a five-year $71.25  deal with Atlanta in 2015, Dez Bryant got five years and $70 million, ($45 million guaranteed) and Demaryius Thomas signed for five years, $70 million ($43.75 million guaranteed) with the Broncos. 

The good news for the Buccaneers is, they are projected to have the most cap space of any team in the league, so taking care of Evans won’t be a problem. And by inking Evans to a new deal, it alleviates any potential hurt feelings from Evans if the Bucs are active in free agency, looking to add another top-tier receiver to the mix of weapons for Winston. 

The Bucs hit a home run by drafting Evans in the first round in 2014, and Evans has done his part production wise. Now the Bucs can lock him up and sleep well at night knowing the Winston to Evans duo will be terrorizing opposing defenses for years to come. 

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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nitey
nitey
5 years ago

Absolutely agree. It will be money well spent.

AlexanderNascimento
AlexanderNascimento
5 years ago

Well said, Mark.
Bucs’ suits must make it happen. For yesterday.
Go Bucs!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
5 years ago

Get this guys singed right now. This off season and get it pout of the way. He is a top 3 wide out in this league and deservedly so.

e
e
5 years ago

I just hope the jinx doesn’t kick in. It seems like every time the Bucs pay a player, their production falls off the next season. I’m knocking on wood. Mike certainly deserves his payday.

Garv
Garv
5 years ago

TOTALLY agree Mark Cook! We want to keep our rare super stars and this is the time to do it for the Buccaneers and Mike Evans. They HAVE the CAP space, no brainer IMO.

martinii
martinii
5 years ago

Agree with all of the above. Do it now, recognize who is important on this team and work out a way to keep them. Good underlying point made on how Evans may be insulted if we go out and get a strong #2 before we take care of our most prolific #1.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
5 years ago

It certainly makes sense to extend Evans this year, no argument there. But when it comes to salary cap and contract management, I think none of us are in a position to be giving much advice to Jason Licht, who has already proven himself a master of same (he hasn’t had any issues yet in managing the cap …. and he has been perfectly willing to cut his losses when a free agent didn’t work out). We don’t have any reason to believe that Jason will mess this one up. Even if an extension isn’t inked this year, I’d imagine… Read more »

Ron Gibson
Ron Gibson
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

I would have preferred we had Glennon under contract so we could get something for him, though.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Ron Gibson
5 years ago

I’m sure the Bucs would love to keep Mike Glennon … but it’s quite possible that the biggest motivator for Glennon is to try his hand at winning a starter’s job with another team. He is well regarded by a lot of people in the league, and starter money is far above what the Bucs can afford to pay him.

ryanoster
ryanoster
5 years ago

Hey Marc.. can we put the whole Salary Cap thing in better perspective? How many players from the 53 man roster do we actually have under contract for 2017? 35? Give or take? And what’s the avg for other teams? That Cap space will be eaten up pretty quick if we try and sign tier 1 FAs. Need some context around why we have so much space.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  ryanoster
5 years ago

Ryan – Lacking a new posting by Marc, a great source of info on salary caps and the year by year numbers in individual player contracts is http://www.overthecap.com.

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
5 years ago

Sign the DUDE!!

chetthevette
chetthevette
Reply to  Buc 1976
5 years ago

THE DUDE ABIDES

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

“E” sometimes I wonder if some of you guys read any other news about the NFL other than thr Bucs.
I can assure you production by players falling after they sign a big contract with guaranteed money is hardly a malady that only strikes the Bucs. It happens to teams league wide.
What strikes me as odd is the Bucs have really had plenty of cap space for the past five or six years.
If the Glazers rreally want a Super Bowl, t’s time to open the wallet so this tesm can get some better and deeper team depth.

e
e
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

Read the news about the enemies? Ha!

Destino102
Destino102
5 years ago

I think this is a terrible idea. I like Mike, but we should all take our fan hats off and put our business caps on and think this through. As a first round pick we have Mike under contract for this coming year, and a fifth year option next year. “Just because we have the cap space” is ont a good reason to deal big contracts out when we don’t have to. the Bucs have operated well under the cap for a while now, and will continue to do so. I want Mike to spend his entire career in Tampa,… Read more »

chetthevette
chetthevette
5 years ago

Why is this a thing? This guys needs to be signed ASAP. I’m pretty sure that the coaches and front office know if he deserves it.
Why take a chance on losing him? ME seems to want to play here and plays nice with others.
Pay the kid.
GO BUCS

macabee
macabee
5 years ago

I agree with the idea 100%.And if you’re in the Bucs FO, I’m pretty sure they think it’s a great idea too. There is however just one small detail. Does Mike Evans want to do this now or bet on himself that he will not get injured nor will his level of play fall off. Every agent in the world knows what is happening with the increasing salary cap as more TV deals and London, Mexico deals are done. Then some smart a$$ agent says let OBJ set the market first and then we’ll talk. This isn’t as simple as… Read more »

Bobby Ashcraft
Bobby Ashcraft
5 years ago

I couldn’t agree with you more. Signing him now and setting the market would be a smart move in regard to keeping a handle on the salary cap long term.

macabee
macabee
5 years ago

Breaking news! DC Mike Smith just signed an extension with the Bucs. Daddy’s home! lol

Dbuc63
Dbuc63
5 years ago

Out of the 3 WR’s you listed, I believe only 1 is worth their signing. Dez and Demaryius are overpaid. Jones is definitely worth it. Like another poster stated, wait another year, what’s the hurry? Mike is worth the money TODAY. 1 year from now lots can happen. I’m a business guy so IF I went to the table this early I’d load it as a performance base contract that has the potential to be more than the 3 receivers above using total yards and TD’s as my basis. I doubt Belichick would pay a ransom… Tough call but it’s… Read more »

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

It’s that old “pay me now or pay me later” saying. For me, seeing a players’ worth and rewarding him before he asks or explores other options sends a more positive message to the entire team than for players having to enter into potentially adversarial negotiations and threaten to depart or hold out. The real dilemma for Jason Licht is to forecast which players are deserving and remain worth the money. We have had our share of big payday deals that backfired. Mike Clayton comes to mind with Doug Martin gaining on him. In Mike Evans case, I think it… Read more »

jme0151
jme0151
Reply to  scubog
5 years ago

Well that’s your fault for buying expensive NFL jerseys for certain players. NFL……Not For Long!!
I buy Wal-mart tee’s that say Bucs. Never goes out of style…even my old day one cream cycle ones!
And yes…I am cheap and long retired. I do have an Alscot jersey though but got it after he retired.
Just messing with u Scu. Your a great poster on this site for a long time.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  jme0151
5 years ago

Thanks JME. I can’t quite fit in my old Bucco Bruce era tee shirts, but I still have the first one I ever bought. I’ve given a lot of them away to Goodwill over the years trying to make it look like we had more fans.

Morgan R
Morgan R
5 years ago

He’s a top 5 WR and needs to be paid accordingly. I hope Licht and the Glazers don’t play any games with him. Undervaluing your stars is insulting and bad for morale.

Ron Gibson
Ron Gibson
5 years ago

The thing to do is sign him to an extension now with it front loaded to take advantage of the cap space we have now as in a few years Winston’s contract is gonna be huge. Also each year the salaries increase so he is not gonna get any cheaper.