The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have picked up Mike Evans’ fifth-year option, general manager Jason Licht said today. That extends his rookie contract through the 2018 season.
Picking up that option wasn’t exactly a difficult decision for the Bucs. Evans has put up over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his three NFL seasons, is still just 24 years old and looks like a perennial Pro Bowler.
Evans was the seventh overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft. Like every first-round pick, that means he had a fifth-year option built into his contract. In his case, because he’s a top ten pick, that will likely cost the Bucs some $13 million in 2018—assuming they haven’t extended his contract by then.
The Bucs’ general manager also said that they want to make Evans a Buc for the long-term. In other words: they want to start working on a contract extension. Evans is likely to set the market at wide receiver when he is extended, which probably means he’ll get north of Antonio Brown’s $17 million per year.
Whether that’ll get done this year or next year remains to be seen, but it’ll get done at some point—and the Bucs have the cap space to do it right now, if they want.