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Buccaneers, WR Mike Evans agree to terms on two-year, $52 million deal

Star wide receiver Mike Evans won't test the free-agent market after all.

The Buccaneers and Evans have agreed to a two-year, $52 million contract to keep the star wideout in Tampa Bay, NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported on Good Morning Football on Monday, per sources informed of the situation.

Ensuring Evans didn't reach the open market, where he could have been wooed by the highest bidder, is a big coup for Bucs general manager Jason Licht and his quest to keep much of the NFC South champions' roster together in 2024.

Aging hasn't slowed Evans down, as he still finds ways to get open and can win at every level. The $26 million-per-year average places Evans fourth among all receivers and underscores the Bucs' belief he'll remain one of the top pass catchers in the entire NFL. It marks a nearly $10 million-per-year leap from the five-year, $82.5 million extension Evans signed in 2018 that he played out.

The deal puts a path for Evans to potentially play his entire career in Tampa.

By far the most prolific receiver in Buccaneers history, Evans has generated 10 1,000-plus-yard receiving seasons in his decade in Tampa, a record for a receiver to start a career. Evans' 11,680 total receiving yards are 4,990 more than the next-closest Buc all-time (Chris Godwin, 6,690), and his 94 touchdown catches are 60 more than No. 2 (Godwin, 34).

Even as Evans hit 30 years old last season, he didn't slow down, generating 1,255 yards and 13 touchdowns, which tied for most in the NFL. Those numbers could have been even better if former offensive coordinator Dave Canales had force-fed him the ball. In the Bucs' Divisional Round playoff loss in Detroit, Evans went for a whopping 147 yards on eight catches with a touchdown.

While the Bucs repeatedly said that they wanted Evans back this offseason, there was some sense that the veteran could price himself out of Tampa at this stage of his career. The club has several high-profile free agents, including safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (potential franchise tag) and quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Locking down Evans before the offseason negotiating window even opens gives Licht a buffer to work with as he attempts to keep last year's core together. Ensuring the top wideout doesn't flee could also add more reason for Mayfield to return to Tampa in 2024. Mayfield stumped for a return along with Evans after the season. One of those pieces is in place. Now it's on the quarterback.

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