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Buccaneers WR Mike Evans keeping focus on field with extension deadline looming

Mike Evans has given nine years to the Buccaneers and received nearly $96 million in return.

He'd like to extend their partnership, but Tampa Bay hasn't responded in kind -- at least not yet. Evans' agent set a deadline for an extension for Saturday, Sept. 9, but so far, the two parties haven't neared an agreement.

With only two days left before that deadline arrives, Evans knows time is running out.

"Obviously, we've been working for over a year now trying to get something done," Evans said Thursday. "Any player in my position would wanna be solidified and secure. But if the deal is done or not, either way, we'll be OK. I'm looking forward to having a great season."

Evans has filled the No. 1 receiver role in Tampa since arriving in 2014, working with the likes of Jameis Winston, Josh McCown, Mike Glennon and Tom Brady. Regardless of who was throwing to him, Evans produced, breaking 1,000 receiving yards in every season from 2014-2022.

He's in line to run routes for Baker Mayfield in 2023, a season in which he'll account for $23.7 million in cap space. It might also be his last if he and the Buccaneers can't reach an agreement.

At 30 years old, Evans isn't exactly a player a team will quickly lock up to a lucrative long-term deal. He's currently under such a deal, which he signed back in 2018. The Buccaneers are no longer a team that is willing to open the bank vault in an effort solely dedicated to winning a title. The departure of Brady this offseason forced Tampa Bay to find an affordable replacement in Mayfield, with the hopes it can reload over a year or two instead of completely rebuild.

Signing Evans to another big extension doesn't fit that strategy. But because he is still only 30, Evans likely isn't going to accept a cheaper offer just to stay with the only team he knows, creating a financial conflict between the two sides.

"Ownership and management are going to do what they feel is best for the team and the team's future, and I'ma do what's best for me and my future," Evans said. "Right now, that's just playing good ball."

It doesn't sound as if a contract dispute will keep Evans from playing. He just might be playing somewhere else a year from now.

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