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Report: Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield could be 'package deal' with Bucs or other NFL team

IMG_6598by:Nick Kosko02/25/24


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Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to keep Mike Evans and Baker Mayfield together as a “package deal,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Evans could command big money on the free agent market, but wants to stay in South Florida. As far as Mayfield, he expressed interest in staying with the Bucs after a successful 2023 campaign.

But it seems like Evans will have to be the first domino to fall, whether the two stay with the Bucs or go elsewhere.

“The Bucs are trying to re-sign this guy in a major way,” Fowler said on SportsCenter. “They’ve had preliminary talks, Mike Evans wants to retire a Buccaneer but I’m told he’s also willing, at least open to, the possibility of going to the open market because he would have a huge market. The Bucs now they gotta pay him well over $20 million per year … His game has not fallen off. 

“And Baker Mayfield as he’s trying to resign with the Bucs. He’s watching Mike Evans’ deal closely. It could be sort of a package deal. They could both go their separate ways. A lot could happen, but the team is trying to keep them together.”

Evans topped 1,000 yards once again as he has every single season of his career. In 17 games, Evans had 79 catches, 1,255 yards, 13 touchdowns and 15.9 yards per catch. 

In his career, Evans has 762 catches, 11,680 yards, 94 touchdowns and 15.3 yards per catch. When you can have successful seasons with multiple quarterbacks throughout your career and now Mayfield, Evans might want to stay with the former Heisman Trophy winner.

It was a bit of a career resurgence for Mayfield in 2023. He went 9-8 as a starter, led the Bucs to an NFC South title and 1-1 in the playoffs.

With Evans in the fold, Mayfield finished the year with 4,044 yards, 28 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 64.3% completion percentage.

The Bucs are expected to use their franchise tag on safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and not Evans or Mayfield this offseason.

New offensive coordinator Liam Coen definitely wants the quarterback back, but as Fowler reported, perhaps Evans has to be there for Mayfield.

“I want him to be here,” Coen said during his introductory press conference, via the team’s website. “It’s probably more ‘want’ than ‘know.’ He’s obvious a reason that I’m here. That’s real. But at the end of the day, this is going to be collaborative, hopefully. I think he wants to be here, but we know it’s a long way to go.

“It’s a long way to go, and I want him to be here. I think he wants to be here. He wants to work with me and do this with Coach [Todd Bowles] and the organization. He has had nothing but great things to say about this place, so hopefully that can get done.”