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  • Writer's pictureElijah Southwick

The Mike Evans Buy Window is Back Open

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans is a future Pro Football Hall of Famer. His 10 straight seasons with 1,000+ yards to start his career is unprecedented. Just seven players in NFL history have recorded nine or more total seasons in their careers with 1,000+ receiving yards. Only one of those players, two-time Super Bowl winner Jimmy Smith, has not been inducted to the Hall of Fame. Evans and Jerry Rice are the only two players in NFL history to record 10 or more 1,000+ yard seasons and win a Super Bowl. When it comes to his career resume, there’s little more Evans can accomplish.

Now that Evans has officially re-signed with the Buccaneers on a two-year, $52 million contract, his fantasy football value is extremely intriguing. His return to the Buccaneers was always a possibility and maybe even likely. But the potential of him hitting the open market as a free agent was driving up his value due to many speculating that he could pair up with an elite quarterback like Patrick Mahomes. His return to Tampa Bay could pump the brakes on some of that excitement, opening a buy window.

Evans will turn 31 at the start of the 2024 season, but his career longevity and excellent 2023 season indicate that he’s nowhere near falling off his age cliff. Evans is starting to look like this generation’s Steve Smith Sr. or Larry Fitzgerald, who played 16 and 17 years, respectively. Both players rank in the top 10 of the NFL’s all-time career receiving yards leaders.

The Buccaneers now have the task of finding themselves a quarterback to get Evans the ball. Baker Mayfield revived his career in Tampa Bay last season, feeding Mike Evans to the tune of 1,255 receiving yards and a league-high 13 touchdowns. Mayfield and Evans then connected for 195 total yards and a touchdown in their two NFC playoff games.

The Buccaneers are likely actively negotiating with Mayfield in an attempt to re-sign him before he becomes a free agent later this month. If they fail to retain him, their options will be limited to players like Justin Fields, Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill or a draft pick

Mayfield to Evans may not be the sexy connection that restores Evans to top 20 status of dynasty wide receivers. And considering the dramatic influx of talent at the position that’s entering the league in the upcoming NFL Draft, Evans will likely remain as affordable as ever.

Evans ranks as the dynasty WR33 on KeepTradeCut and is priced between the 2.01 and 2.02 rookie picks in superflex formats. Rookie draft pick prices are way up after several players performed extremely well at the NFL Combine, but historical hit rates suggest that there’s still a 30-40% chance at a minimum that you’ll be drafting a bust in that range, even in the best of draft classes. If Evans can replicate a late-career surge like Fitzgerald did in 2015-2017 (three-straight seasons of 100+ catches, 1,000+ yards, 6+ TDs), he’ll be well worth the price of an early second round pick.

I’ll be watching closely to see what happens in Tampa Bay at the quarterback position. Whether it’s Mayfield, Fields, Wilson or anybody else throwing him the ball, I’ll be investing in Evans all offseason as he continues his unprecedented career.

Elijah Southwick is the lead sports content writer for Degen Magazine. His work has appeared in several news and sports publications.

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