Article By: Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports. Find original article HERE
Mike Evans’ new contract with Tampa Bay makes him among the highest-paid receivers in the history of the game, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, and vaults him with the likes of Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones in terms of compensation. The five-year, $82.5 million contract extension runs through the 2023 season and is worth a maximum of a little less than $96 million.
Evans had one year remaining on his entry-level contract but is now secured by the Buccaneers throughout his prime, with the former first-round pick emerging as one of the elite playmakers in the NFL and the prime target for young quarterback Jameis Winston. Under the contract, negotiated by agent Deryk Gilmore, Evans receives $55 million in injury guarantees (the previous high was $48.7 million by Johnson); Evans has $38.3 million fully guaranteed over the next two years alone.
The five-year extension is worth a whopping $16.5M per year, putting it on par with the new money yearly average Antonio Brown received from the Steelers on his four-year extension. Over the first three years of the deal — always a key metric in this league — Evans will average a massive $18 million per season. The deal includes rolling guarantees early in the contract and a $1.5 million bonus in the final year of the deal that will essentially force the Bucs to make a decision on his future prior to the 2023 season.
Evans earns $18 million in salary and bonus in 2018, and then would have a cash flow of $20 million in 2019, $18.72 million in 2020, $12.25 million in 2021, $14 million in 2022 and $14,5 million in 2023. His cap numbers are manageable through most of the contract (the bulk of his guaranteed money would be paid out before Winston would be on a second contract), and the cap numbers in the final three years of the deal work in the favor of both Evans and the team.
The seventh overall pick in 2014, Evans has topped 1,000 receiving yards in each of his four seasons, including 2017 when Tampa’s offense struggled mightily. He has become a fixture in the Tampa community and back home in Texas through his outreach work, partnering with Amanda White of Day 1 Sports to run his foundation.
Evans was a second-team All-Pro in 2016, and has twice reached 12 receiving touchdowns in a season. He and the Bucs began discussing a new contract early last season and the process intensified this offseason, with Tampa making retaining the dynamic player a priority.