Mike Evans agrees to a 2-year, $52 million contract to remain with the Buccaneers, AP source says

FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) looks toward the stands after his first touchdown of the first half during an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans has agreed to a two-year, $52 million contract to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead of testing his worth in free agency, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday, March 4, 2024, because the contract had not been finalized. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit, File)

FILE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) looks toward the stands after his first touchdown of the first half during an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans has agreed to a two-year, $52 million contract to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead of testing his worth in free agency, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday, March 4, 2024, because the contract had not been finalized. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — There’s still a chance Mike Evans could play his entire career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Instead of testing his worth in free agency this winter, the team’s career receiving leader has agreed to a two-year, $52 million contract to remain with the club that drafted him seventh overall in 2014, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Monday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized. ESPN first reported the agreement, saying it includes $35 million guaranteed.

The deal comes just days after Bucs general manager Jason Licht and other team officials returned from the annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, where discussions with Evans’ agent gained momentum.

Evans, 30, is the only player in NFL history to begin a career with 10 consecutive seasons with 1,000-plus yards receiving and is Tampa Bay’s career leader in receptions (762), yards (11,680) and touchdowns (94).

Last summer, the five-time Pro Bowl selection unsuccessfully sought an extension on a five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed in 2018.

Despite his disappointment, the 6-foot-5, 231-pound receiver remained open to the prospect of playing his entire career with the Bucs while having 79 receptions for 1,255 yards and tying Tyreek Hill for the league lead in TD catches with 13 in 2023.

The team is hopeful that re-signing Evans will help ensure quarterback Baker Mayfield remains with Tampa Bay, too.

Mayfield joined the team on a one-year contract last winter and had his best season as a pro, throwing for a career-best 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns while helping Tampa Bay capture a third straight NFC South title.

The Bucs, the only NFC team to reach the playoffs each of the past four seasons, upset Philadelphia in a wild-card matchup before losing to Detroit in the divisional round. Evans had 11 receptions for 195 yards and one TD in the two games.

The day after being eliminated from the postseason, coach Todd Bowles was asked if he cringed at the thought of Evans potentially playing for a different team.

“I don’t even think about it. I don’t like to be asked about it,” Bowles said. “I don’t want to know about it. I hope to hell that does not happen.”

In addition to hoping to retain Mayfield and Evans, Licht said last week in Indianapolis that the Bucs have also prioritized trying to re-sign All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr., veteran linebacker Lavonte David and placekicker Chase McLaughlin, who are set to become free agents.

The team also is looking to extend the contract of left tackle Tristan Wirfs, who is scheduled to play on his fifth-year option of $18.24 million next season.

“We’re focused on signing ours right now.,” Licht said at the combine. “I mean, if we can re-sign Mike and Baker and Lavonte, Chase, Antoine and Tristan, I mean, we should be throwing another boat parade. That’s a pretty good class there.”

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