How much should the Bucs offer Evans?

by Gary Shelton on February 6, 2024

in general

Evans will get a big check./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

The question is not whether you believe Mike Evans is going home to Houston, where he would have a calming effect on young quarterback C.J. Stroud,

You shouldn’t.

Nor is it a matter of buying into the whispers that, hey, he could go to Carolina and reunite with new coach Dave Canales.

You shouldn’t listen to those, either.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo). Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

Then there are the rumors that he’ll go to Chicago, or to Kansas City, or to Atlanta. Or anywhere else.

These are what are called throw-it-against-the-wall rumors. They are stories built on connecting the dots, and they know nothing of sources or quotations. They don’t consider compensation, if any is needed. They find a franchise that needs a receiver, and they write a headline and — just like that — the website collects hits.

Here are the facts. Evans is an incredibly accomplished receiver who is a free agent. Someone is going to pay him a truckload of money. Then they’re going to hope he has fewer dropped passes next year.

If you are a Bucs’ fan, here’s the question you should concern yourself with:

How high are you willing to go?

Oh, it’s easy to say that Bucs’ fans want Evans back. Of course they do. He’s covered himself with honor, and he’s been a good citizen. But are you willing to write him a check? 

What if he asks for $25 million a year? How about 30? How about five years? How much are you willing to guarantee?  If you pay big bucks to Evans and Baker Mayfield and Antoine Winfield and Lavonte David, are you handcuffing the franchise? 

These are the questions that Bucs’ general manager Jason Licht must juggle. The last thing you need to do is turn your team from overachieving to overpaid.

Hey, there are going to be a lot of rumors, and it only takes one owner to overpay. It’s going to be hard — and expensive — to keep your players in a Tampa Bay uniform.

Somewhere, however, there is a line that is too expensive, too long, too guaranteed. Somewhere, there is an area where you have to be willing to walk away,  the way the Chiefs were with Tyreek Hill, the way the Packers were with Davonte Adams.

Hey, if anyone is going to get rich this off-season, I hope it’s Evans. He deserves a big check.

But does he deserve a blank one.

Previous post:

Next post: