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

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.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at:
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FLBoy84 (@flboy84)
3 years ago

Like how as the contract ages Evans’ percentage to the cap decreases. Would be great to see Ali and Kwon’s deals get done, but I’d put off Smith’s until later in the season or next off-season so more immediate needs could be addressed. Curious how an inconsistent semi-motivated player like him reacts to that first big contract.

Horse (@horse)
3 years ago

If I’m not mistaken, Evans contract is nets more than Browns because we do not have State Income Tax.

Pete Wood
Pete Wood (@littlebrownjug)
3 years ago

Money well spent. Best WR in the league.

Now we just need to get him some support.
O-line and RB in FA and the draft.
And, Isaiah Crowell!

Reply to  Pete Wood
3 years ago

Not the best in the league, just outside the top 5 and certainly has the potential to be top 5 if the offense can get it together. It was certainly money well spent and I think will be viewed as a great deal by next year when some of his peers get new contracts. What I find disturbing is that outside of Tampa he’s just viewed as better than average. On the National stage his contract only lasted about hour before it was buried by far more trivial NFL news by stories about Bennett and Sherman from Seattle both of… Read more »

surferdudes (@surferdudes)
3 years ago

I wouldn’t rush on signing D. Smith either. Would still explore shopping Brate, and Humphries. Think we could fetch a decent pick for Brate. Don’t give me Koetter’s two T.E. set nonsense, Koetter’s offense most likely will be gone with him next year. Besides more opportunities for O.J., ans Auclaire could be a good thing.

Pete Wood
Pete Wood (@littlebrownjug)
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

Do not trade Brate for a pick. Players like him are rare.

Ken - Kfromfla
Ken - Kfromfla (@kfromfla)
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

I’m fascinated by this thinking; totally confused. We hear fans say build through the draft, then the same types say trade your home-grown talent. Brate is a dream talent; to get a 1st round quality player as an undrafted free agent is not only rare, it is the type of success teams need to become winning franchises. Brate and OJ Howard on the field together should keep D-Coordinators up nights for many years to come. Is it a run, stretch the field, own the middle of the field; there is no end to what can be done with those two… Read more »

Garv (@garv)
3 years ago

Very good deal for Mike and the Buccaneers. Too bad it won’t silence the BRING IN (insert name of any well known player past his prime) crowd. This is the kind of signing Buccaneer fans should be happy about as it will help the team for years to come.

plopes808 (@plopes808)
3 years ago

Big Mike has earned every penny of that contract so far. I love the way the contract is structured to help the team as well. We have a lot of big signings in the near future with Brate, Winston, Alexander, Marpet, and D Smith (jury is still out.) Hopefully these guys will be willing to work with the team and keep us out of cap trouble as well.