- Mike Evans and the Buccaneers agreed on a four-year deal with a fifth-year option on Thursday
- The seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft, Evans is the highest-drafted receiver in franchise history
- The Bucs have just two remaining unsigned rookies: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and RB Charles Sims
Mike Evans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one less thing to worry about before the start of training camp.
On Thursday, Evans, the Buccaneers' first-round pick in last month's NFL Draft, came to terms on his first NFL contract. The pact covers four years with a fifth-year option, as is the norm for first-round picks under the new collective bargaining agreement.
The rookie receiver signed his deal on the final day of Tampa Bay's 10-week offseason training program, after which there is a six-week break before the start of training camp. The Bucs had previously completed contracts for fifth-round guard Kadeem Edwards and sixth-round wide receiver Robert Herron a week after the draft, then inked fifth-round tackle a few days later. The deal announced Thursday leaves just two players unsigned: second-round tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and third-round running back Charles Sims.
The Buccaneers, who haven't had a significant rookie holdout in two decades, weren't expecting difficulties getting their 2014 draft class into camp on time. The new CBA, installed in 2011, has simplified the process of signing draft picks, particularly first-rounders, as is evidenced by the fact that 21 of this year's 32 first-round selections are already under contract.
And, of course, the Bucs want Evans (and, for that matter, Seferian-Jenkins and Sims) in training camp from Day One because they expect him to be an important part of the offense this year. The seventh overall pick in the draft and the highest-drafted receiver in franchise history, Evans is likely to step in as a starter opposite Vincent Jackson from Day One.
WR Mike Evans is likely to step right in as a starter opposite Vincent Jackson
Evans joins the Buccaneers after two extremely productive seasons at A&M, where he started all 26 games during that span and caught 151 passes for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 16.6 yards per grab. Last fall he averaged more than 20 yards a catch while racking up nearly 1,400 yards and a dozen touchdowns. He was a first-team All-America choice by the Associated Press and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.