General manager Jason Licht announced the team exercised the 2018 option on the star receiver Monday. The next stage will be agreeing to a long-term deal down the road.
"Yeah we picked up his fifth-year option today," Licht told reporters at the opening of the Bucs' offseason workouts. "Mike, in terms of his future here, I know I can speak for myself and I'm pretty sure I'm speaking for everybody here, well I know I am, but Mike is a Buc for life. Today, we picked up his option. It wasn't a very tough decision. We'll take it from there. I can promise you at some point, I can't tell you when, we'll be contacting his agent to try to make him an offer that will make him a Buc for long term."
As with options for other 2014 first-rounders already picked up, it was a no-brainer move for the Bucs.
Evans earned more than 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons in Tampa Bay. In 2016, he was in the top six in yards (1,321), receptions (96) and touchdowns (12). The 6-foot-5 wideout menaces defensive backs with his prototypical size and ball skills.
With the addition of DeSean Jackson this offseason to stretch defenses vertically, Tampa boasts playmakers at every level to give Jameis Winston plenty of options in the passing game for a team that should contend for a playoff spot in 2017.
Exercising the fifth-year option on Evans was a given entering the offseason. Now Licht's job will be securing Winston's No. 1 target for years to come.