The contract numbers are in for Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans’ five-year, $82 million mega deal with Tampa Bay. The contract compares favorably to that of Houston Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who signed a five-year, $81 million deal last year. Evans’ deal averages $16.4 million per year, which makes him the second-highest paid receiver in the NFL behind Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, who averages $17 million per season.
Evans’ five-year contract extension runs through the 2023 season and adds $5 million more to his 2018 salary, which was already at $13.2 million due to his fifth-year option.
Evans’ contract includes $42 million in guaranteed money – not the $55 million that was reported by other media outlets because the $13.2 million fifth-year option was already guaranteed and can’t be counted twice. Evans’ $42 million in guaranteed money is more guaranteed money than Hopkins received, which was $41 million.
Evans’ Contract Breakdown
2018 – $18.2 million – fully guaranteed
2019 – $20 million – fully guaranteed
2020 – $16.75 million – $3.8 million guaranteed
2021 – $12.25 million
2022 – $14 million
2023 – $14.5 million – includes $1.5 million in roster bonus money
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
What’s noticeable about Evans’ contract is that Hopkins received $24 million in his first season, which is nearly $6 million more than what Evans received. This is not a slight to Evans in any way, and sources close to the negotiations suggest that Evans was being a team player and wanted to give the Bucs more 2018 salary cap space so that Tampa Bay could have more cap room to work on extensions for middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and offensive linemen Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith, who are all entering a contract year in the upcoming season, in addition to signing some other free agents next week.
Despite having a tremendous amount of personal success, including catching a team-record 12 touchdown passes in 2014 and ’16, earning his first Pro Bowl distinction in ’16 and being one of only three other receivers to post 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first four NFL seasons, Evans has always been a team-first player. Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2014 has caught 309 passes for 4,579 yards and 32 touchdowns since entering the league.
Evans, who had 71 catches for 1,001 yards and five touchdowns last year, is poised to become the franchise’s all-time leading receiver in 2018 if he stays healthy. He is already in third place with 4,579 and needs 350 yards to surpass Kevin House (4,928 yards) and 440 yards to move past Mark Carrier (5,018) and have the most receiving yards in Bucs history. Evans also needs three touchdowns to move past tight end Jimmie Giles (34 touchdowns) for the most in Tampa Bay history.
With 309 catches, which ranks third in team annals, Evans will likely need two seasons to surpass James Wilder’s 430 receptions, but can move up to second place and pass Carrier (321 catches) with his first 13 catches in 2018.