The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have picked up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Mike Evans’ contract, general manager Jason Licht announced Monday.
The seventh overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Evans surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons, becoming just the fourth player in NFL history to accomplish that feat.
Evans, 23, reached the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2016 after catching a career-high 1,321 receiving yards, fourth-most in the NFL. His 12 receiving touchdowns were tied with Antonio Brown and Davante Adams for second most in the league. His 27 receiving touchdowns in the past three years are tied for third most in the league with Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant.
“Mike, in terms of his future here, I know I speak for myself and I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for everyone here — I know I am — I hope Mike is a Buc for life,” Licht said, adding that it wasn’t a tough decision, and that he’ll be rewarded even more generously down the road.
“I can promise you that at some point — I can’t tell you when — but we’ll be contacting his agent to try to make him an offer to make him a Buc for long term,” said Licht.
Quarterback Jameis Winston, who has hooked up with Evans for 15 of his 27 career touchdowns, was thrilled with the news.
“As long as I’m around here, you know I want Mike Evans here,” Winston said. “That’s definitely a big thing for Mike. He’s a great asset to this team. He’s probably one of our most valuable players. I’m excited for him. Him and DeSean Jackson on the same team, it’s going to be amazing. I just look forward to what Mike’s gonna bring this next year.”
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who joined Evans as the Bucs’ two representatives at the Pro Bowl this year, praised Evans for his work ethic, ability, his competitiveness and as an exemplary person off the field.
“Mike is one of the most dangerous, not just receivers, but players in the league,” McCoy said. “Once he gets momentum, he’s hard to stop, because he’s dangerously competitive. Like dangerously competitive. When we play anything, Mike takes it to the extreme. ‘Like Mike, we’re just shooting paper into a trash can. Chill.’ But he’s like, ‘Let’s go.’ That’s the type of guy Mike is.”
McCoy added: “He’s only getting better. … He’s learned how to be a pro. He’s a great family man, a great husband, a great father, and everything ‘being a professional’ moving forward, he’s going to do nothing but get better at.”