The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are certainly in a predicament with one of their star players. Wide Receiver Mike Evans has made it clear he wants a new contract and he wants it before the 2023 season starts.
Evans’ current contract ranks 18th among wide receivers with $16.5 million per season. He certainly wants to move up as he has established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. His running mate, Chris Godwin, currently makes $20 million per season. However, if a trade doesn’t get done, five teams have surfaced has realistic trade suitors.
Five Teams Surfaced For Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Wide Receiver Mike Evans
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report outlined five teams who can make a move for the star wide receiver:
1. Cleveland Browns
Based on early expectations, the Cleveland Browns are likely to hover in the thick of the AFC wild-card race. If that happens, the roster may need a midseason jolt to truly contend.
Evans certainly qualifies as that. The question for Cleveland is how soon it’ll commit to going all-in on a Super Bowl chase.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson is signed to a fully guaranteed contract through 2026, so the Browns have a window for relative patience. On the other hand, they already project to be $55 million over next year’s salary cap.
2. Detroit Lions
In the wide-open NFC North, the Detroit Lions have steadily landed more attention as the projected division winner. The roster may need a boost at receiver, though.
Amon-Ra St. Brown has established himself as a rising star, but Detroit may struggle to find a reliable second option.
Marvin Jones Jr., Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond should all have promising moments, but their production likely won’t be consistent. Jameson Williams is hugely talented, but he’s facing a six-game gambling suspension and has only 78 snaps of NFL experience.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs’ first priority should be settling negotiations with All-Pro defender Chris Jones. But there’s a potential issue appearing in KC beyond that.
As long as tight end Travis Kelce is healthy, the Chiefs are fine. They proved as much in 2022, winning a Super Bowl with a receiving corps led by JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
However, Kelce hyperextended his knee during practice Tuesday, which put his Week 1 availability in doubt. Even if it winds up not being a long-term injury, the scare may push Kansas City into a proactive trade.
4. New England Patriots
The biggest uncertainty is whether the New England Patriots would be willing to extend Evans. Bill Belichick loves veteran players, though not necessarily pricey ones.
Evans, who’s surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in all nine of his NFL seasons, is worth the atypical gamble for New England.
JuJu Smith-Schuster likely isn’t a No. 1 target for a contender. Kendrick Bourne is a fringe WR2 at best, and DeVante Parker has an enormous injury red flag attached to his resume.
5. New York Jets
Patience? Who likes that?
Now, any aggressive move the New York Jets consider must include the belief Aaron Rodgers is back in 2024. Otherwise, the attached risk is a bit unsettling—even for a win-now squad as the Jets are in 2023.
Let’s hypothesize Rodgers quietly gives an indication that, based on his health, he’s planning to return. In that case: Do it.
Which Of These Teams Are The Most Likely To Land Mike Evans?
While it may be difficult to pry Mike Evans from the Buccaneers, it may not be impossible. Of these five teams, the Chiefs rank number one in my opinion. After their dismal wide receiver performance against the Lions on opening night, many believe they should be in on any established wide receiver on the trade block.
The next most likely would be the Detroit Lions in my opinion. They have four picks in the first three rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft and could certainly use another running mate with Amon-Ra St. Brown. They also have the cap space to commit to Evans long-term.
The Patriots, Browns, and Jets feel farfetched from happening. Sure, Aaron Rodgers could twist his front offices’ arm and pull off another trade, however, their cap space isn’t so friendly to another high caliber contract.
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