Skip to main content

Mike Evans' agent sets Sept. 9 deadline in contract talks with Buccaneers

Mike Evans' agent has set a deadline on negotiating a new contract for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star receiver.

In a lengthy statement released to NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo, Evans' agent, Deryk Gilmore, said he would cut off contract talks next Saturday, Sept. 9, a day before the season starts. Evans is entering the final year of his contract.

"Despite our efforts over the past two years, and the professionalism of Bucs General Manager, Jason Licht, and Assistant General Manager, Mike Greenberg, we have not received an offer to stay in Tampa," Gilmore said in the statement. "This is disappointing to Mike as he sees other teams step up to keep key pieces and players that are important to their organizations. Many players with his status would have held out of camp to not risk injury, but Mike has continued practicing hard, as always, because he puts his team first.

"When you have a player that will be a Hall of Famer and still has four to six more years to make an impact in the league, you move Heaven and Earth to keep him on your team, and we would hope ownership feels the same way."

Gilmore underscored Evans' desire to play his entire career in Tampa and highlighted the record-setting play of the perennial Pro Bowler heading into Year 10 with the club.

Evans has recorded 1,000-plus receiving yards in each of his nine seasons, the longest active streak in the NFL and tied for the second-longest such streak all-time (Jerry Rice: 11 straight seasons). Evans' 10,425 receiving yards and 81 touchdowns each rank in the top three in the NFL since he entered the league in 2014.

Evans is one of five players all-time to have 10,000-plus receiving yards and 80-plus receiving TDs through his first nine seasons in the NFL. The others are all Hall of Famers: Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison and Calvin Johnson.

"We have been working on extending Mike's career with the Bucs for over a year, and we want the fans to know this is not a tactic, and the ball is in the owner's court," Gilmore's statement continued. "That said, we are giving the Bucs until the start of the regular season to make him a Buc for Life, and if that cannot happen, 100 percent of Mike's focus will be on football and his future and where he can continue to make an impact."

Gilmore's statement comes after Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday that contract talks were at an impasse and Evans was headed toward his final year with the Buccaneers.

An agent playing the deadline card signifies the likelihood that sides aren't close in talks. Evans currently makes $16.5 million per season on his contract. With the WR market exploding since he inked his contract in 2018, Evans is the 17th-highest-paid at the position. Evans' camp reportedly wants a deal similar to the three-year, $80.1 million pact Cooper Kupp signed last year. The Bucs, going through a transition season, might not want to pay that coin to a 30-year-old receiver.

One question is whether Gilmore's Sept. 9 deadline is for this season or in totality. Given franchise-tagging Evans would cost the Bucs $28.43 million in 2024, the star would seem destined to hit the open market.

As Gilmore underscored, Evans has done nothing to rock the boat this offseason. He showed up to camp and participated. He's been a model employee.

Now, his agent has taken hold of the helm, flipped a U-ey, and is piloting the boat into choppier waters.

Deadlines spur action, so the maneuver from Gilmore could work. Perhaps it gets ownership's attention, and a contract comes to fruition.

Perhaps the statement piques the interest of WR-needy teams who would be comfortable paying Evans' asking price, and the Bucs welcome the chance to trade the wideout before losing him next year. Surely, a smart shark will make a call to check.

Or, perhaps nothing happens, the deadline passes, and Evans' future hovers over Tampa for the rest of the season.

Related Content