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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans: Deal or No Deal, Ready for a Great Season

Whether or not he and the Buccaneers agree on a new contract by Saturday, WR Mike Evans is happy with his situation, energized by a new offense and expecting to produce yet another prolific campaign

TAMPA, FL - September 07, 2023 - Wide Receiver Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during practice at AdventHealth Training Center. Photo By Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TAMPA, FL - September 07, 2023 - Wide Receiver Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during practice at AdventHealth Training Center. Photo By Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike Evans has put up the type of gaudy numbers that fuel future Hall of Fame predictions. That first number – nine – is one of the most important ones to him. He's about to experience his 10th opening day in the NFL and he knows that is something to treasure in and of itself.

"I'm excited," said the four-time Pro Bowl receiver. "I'm blessed to be in this position. A lot of people dream of making it to Year 10. I'm happy to be here. I feel great. I look forward to a great season with the Bucs this year."

Evans' 10th season will be the last one on his current contract with the Buccaneers, and he and the team have not yet come to agreement on a new one that would extend into 2024 and beyond. On Thursday, Evans spoke to the local media for the first time since his agent publicly announced a deadline for getting a deal done, indicating that Evans would turn his attention solely to football after Saturday. The Buccaneers kick off their season on Sunday in Minnesota.

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

Evans has famously surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first nine seasons, the first player to do so in NFL history. Given his eye-catching performance in training camp, it appears he's ready to chase number 10, which would put him in a tie with Randy Moss for the second most such seasons in a career, behind only Jerry Rice's 14. Head Coach Todd Bowles indicated that there is no reason to worry that any contract impasse would affect Evans' play this season.

"It doesn't change anything," said Bowles. "Mike is in great shape. He is ready to go for the season. He is excited about it. There is a business side of football as we all know. That takes care of itself, but there will be no distractions."

Evans didn't play during the preseason but he's had plenty of work on the practice field with new starting quarterback Baker Mayfield and he has been impressed by Mayfield's energy, moxie and competitiveness. In fact, there is a lot of newness around Evans in his 10th season, starting with first-year coordinator Dave Canales and the offense he has installed. That and a general impression in national media that the Buccaneers can continue their success of the last three seasons has the 30-year-old pass-catcher as energized as ever.

"I love Dave and his energy; I love the whole coaching staff," he said. "I'm excited to see what we can do come Sunday in a great stadium. Minnesota has an unbelievable stadium and a really good team from last year. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do against those guys and measure how we're going to be for the rest of the season.

"[There are] a lot of doubters, so we're looking forward to shocking a lot of people this year, especially this first week."

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