Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Mike Evans is slated to be one of the top wide receivers available on the free-agent market this offseason, and he will likely be compensated accordingly.
However, Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox thinks teams should be careful about giving Evans a big contract this spring.
Knox cites Evans’ age (he is 30 years old and will be 31 at the start of next season) and the fact that he has been dealing with minor, nagging injuries as reason for why interested clubs should proceed with caution.
Evans played in every game this season, hauling in 79 receptions for 1,255 yards and an NFL-leading 13 touchdowns en route to his fifth Pro Bowl selection. He has logged at least 1,000 yards in all 10 of his professional seasons, a league record.
So, clearly, all of the accolades are there, and Evans remains an elite wide out even as he is getting older. Still, Knox does raise some good points.
“There’s no doubt that Evans is still playing fantastic football—having arguably the best season of his career despite losing Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady to retirement—but betting that he’ll be able to maintain that type of production over the life of his next contract will be a risky endeavor,” Kay wrote.
Spotrac is projecting that Evans will earn $24 million annually for his next contract. While that would be fine on a short-term deal, it stands to reason that Evans could end up getting a four or five-year deal this offseason. The back end of that pact could become a problem, especially if Evans suffers a significant injury—something he has avoided since entering the NFL as a first-round draft pick back in 2014.
“While the 2023 version of Evans would be commensurate with that type of pay, it wouldn’t be a shock to see his production drastically drop-off after all the mileage and wear-and-tear from his illustrious career catches up,” concluded Kay.
The Buccaneers should have enough cap room to retain Mike Evans this March if they so please, but whether or not they choose to spend a hefty amount of money on an aging receiver remains to be seen.
Tampa Bay will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs on Monday night.