The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be making some big changes this offseason. Depending on how the rest of the 2023 season plays out, they could be on the lookout for a new starting quarterback.
Baker Mayfield signed a one-year deal with the team, leaving his future up in the air. Currently ranked 22nd in points scored and yardage gained, the Buccaneers could look to find an upgrade during the offseason.
Another position they could have a huge hole to fill is wide receiver. The team and Mike Evans failed to agree to a contract extension before the season, which was the deadline set by Evans’ representatives. Heading toward free agency in 2024, it is anyone’s guess if he will re-sign in Tampa Bay.
While Evans made it clear he would like to remain with the Buccaneers, he wants to play for an organization that has a chance to compete for a Super Bowl. The team is also reportedly hesitant to pay him what he seeks as they are already paying Chris Godwin $20 million annually.
If Evans does in fact move on, that is a massive void that will have to be filled. Evans is on pace to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the 10th straight season to start his career; that is a lot of production that would need to be replaced.
Who could the Buccaneers target to fill that role? Matt Holder of Bleacher Report believes they could look to the 2024 NFL Draft, with Keon Coleman out of Florida State being the suggested target, who Holder believes has similarities in his game to Evans.
“Part of what makes Evans such a tough cover is that he’s 6’5″ and 231 pounds, so he can come down with contested catches and is fast enough to win down the field. That’s a big part of how he’s racked up 87 touchdown catches while averaging over 15 yards per grab during his 10-year career.
While Coleman isn’t quite as big at 6’4″ and 215 pounds, he also possesses the unique ability to bring in 50/50 balls and create explosive plays on deep targets. That’s why he’s averaging 13.4 yards per catch and has 10 touchdowns this season, which B/R’s NFL draft scout Derrik Klassen seems to think will translate over to the next level.
“Coleman has all the contested catch ability you can imagine [for someone with his frame] and is an explosive threat every time he touches the ball,” Klassen wrote. “He’s a quick, concise route-runner relative to his size, too.””
Coleman certainly has the build and skill set to replicate what Evans has brought to the table for 10 seasons in Tampa Bay. Whoever is under center for the Buccaneers would certainly be happy about having the Florida State star in the lineup alongside Godwin should Evans not return to the team.