NFL Rumors: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Working on New Deal for Star Wide Receiver

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are embarking on a new era that may include some serious growing pains, but that doesn't mean severing all ties with their recent glory. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the team is discussing an extension with veteran wide receiver Mike Evans.

Evans is an icon in Tampa and unquestionably the greatest wide receiver the franchise has ever seen; his 10425 career receiving yards are nearly double that of any other player in Bucs history.

Evans has been the subject of relentless trade rumors all offseason. Largely, that's due to the retirement of quarterback Tom Brady: most have the Bucs pegged for a year or two of rebuilding. Set to turn 30 years old later this summer, Evans only has so many quality seasons left, and it'd be a pity to waste them on a Bucs squad destined for mediocrity. Another big year or two could raise his profile and help him make a real case for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Evans' contract status has also contributed to the scuttlebutt. In the final year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal that looks like a bargain now given the inflation of wide receiver contracts in recent years, Evans is due for a new contract commensurate with his talents. Rebuilding teams aren't typically in the business of handing out monster contracts to players who may age out before a realistic chance at contending arrives.

Still, the Bucs and Evans clearly have a special relationship. He's one of the very best players the team has ever had, and he helped bring the city a Super Bowl win in their home stadium. In an era where player turnover is the norm, it's refreshing to see a star player prioritize his history with a team and his value to the community. Evans will no doubt earn a privileged place in the Bucs' Ring of Honor one day; maybe that means more than a trip to Canton.

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