The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and wide receiver Mike Evans have started preliminary contract talks, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The fourth-year receiver is under contract through 2018, and has been one of the top receivers in the NFL since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2014.
Evans signed a four-year, $14 million contract as a rookie and the Bucs picked up his fifth-year option, worth just over $13 million, earlier this year. The Bucs will likely have to give him a top-tier contract, presumably setting new records on a per-year basis.
Antonio Brown signed the most expensive wide receiver contract in the NFL this year at an average of $17 million per year. DeAndre Hopkins got $16.2 million per season this year, while A.J. Green received a $15-million-per-year contract in 2015. It would be a shocker if Evans didn’t get at least $15 million per year, and likely significantly more.
Since being drafted seventh overall by the Buccaneers in 2014, Evans has racked up 245 catches for 3,671 yards and 28 touchdowns. Only six players have had more receiving yards since then, and only two have had more touchdowns. All of those players are older than Evans.
With Evans under contract through 2018 there’s no rush for the Bucs or Evans to reach an agreement, and the team could use the franchise tag in 2019—though they would undoubtedly prefer not to, especially given the need to sign Jameis Winston to a contract extension in the next two seasons, too.