NFL Rumors: Bucs provide verdict on WR Mike Evans’ NFL franchise tag status

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a successful run in the 2023 season. They secured the AFC South title and surprised the Philadelphia Eagles with a playoff victory. Baker Mayfield, the new quarterback, delivered a standout performance with his career-best play.

Mayfield’s connection with wide receiver Mike Evans was dynamic, causing chaos for opposing defenses. Both players received Pro Bowl invitations after leading the Buccaneers to a surprising division victory. Yet, there is a cloud hanging over the franchise as they navigate the unclear future of Evans and his franchise tag status.

Bucs’ stance on Mike Evans’ franchise tag

Securing the future of Mike Evans poses a formidable challenge for the Bucs as they navigate the complexities of the franchise tag.

According to NFL insider Adam Schefter, the 2023 cap hit associated with the WR makes him an improbable candidate for the franchise tag. The figure for this tag, standing at a substantial $28.4 million, approaches the realm of quarterback salaries rather than those typical for receivers.

The franchise tag is a one-year contract extension that binds a player to the team. It comes with a preset value based on the market for their respective positions. In the case of wide receivers this offseason, that value is $21.6 million, via Grindion Heroics.

To properly manage the cap, the Bucs have implemented a strategy of moving future money into void years. While there is some flexibility, a decision must be made by February 19 to continue this financial strategy. The decision to franchise tag Evans or consider other contract options will have a major effect on the team’s financial situation and player lineup.

The Bucs must weigh the financial implications of committing such a significant sum to retain Evans. The move is crucial, especially considering the void years in contracts for key players like Baker Mayfield and Antoine Winfield Jr. Teams like the New York Jets were linked with Evans. Even Kansas City Chiefs fans were urged to sign the veteran amid the team’s offensive struggle.

Mike Evans expected to be a free agent in 2024

Mike Evans is set to become an unrestricted free agent next month. The Bucs have the opportunity to secure his services for the future while also managing their salary cap effectively. The WR, who earned a base salary of $13 million in the final year of his contract, presents a significant financial consideration for the team. The team could save $7.387 million against their 2024 salary cap by signing him to an extension before Monday.

The upcoming negotiation period will provide teams with the opportunity to engage in discussions with representatives of potential free agents from other teams. This period will open on March 11 and close on March 13.

Mike Evans has consistently showcased his value on the field throughout his tenure with the Bucs. Despite entering his 10th season, he showed no sign of stopping and maintained his elite performance.

The WR tallied impressive statistics in the 2023 season, including 79 receptions for 1,255 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also hit the headlines by securing over 1,000 receiving yards for the 10th consecutive year. His impressive catch against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3 has been a hot topic of discussion in the regular.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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