Bucs players the Patriots should inquire about
CONTRACT: Signed through 2023 – final three years voided
2022 STATS: 15 games – 77 receptions for 1,124 yards, 6 touchdowns
CAP SPACE IMPLICATIONS FOR 2023: Base salary – $13,000,000 | Cap hit – $23,698,500
Many mock drafts have the Patriots taking a wide receiver in the first round, but with other positions in desperate need of improvement and Belichick’s poor history of taking receivers high in the draft, exploring trade options may be the more likely scenario.
The Bucs have a lot of movement to do to get under the salary cap as they rebuild post-Tom Brady, making a trade for Mike Evans seem possible. As one of the highest-paid players on the team, they may be more willing to part with him now than in previous years.
Because the Patriots are still hoping to find a true WR1, Evans could be the perfect option. In his nine-year career, he’s created quite an impressive resume, ending each season with over 1,000 receiving yards. In addition, he’s a proven talent who remains dominant at his position no matter who’s throwing him the ball and has been durable through the years, only missing a few games in 2019 for a hamstring injury near the end of the season.
The biggest question regarding this potential trade would be the asking price. Because of the cap savings the Bucs will need through the trade, it won’t take place until after June 1st, far after the 2023 draft. The Patriots could agree to a trade before that but not make it official until June. However, Tampa will likely have a high asking price for Evans, like a first-round pick.
If Belichick wants a proven talent coming in as the automatic WR1, he’ll make the call.
Bucs’ details for trading Evans this offseason after 6/1:
2023 Dead Cap: $9,198,500
2024 Dead Cap: $12,198,000
2023 Cap Savings if Evans is traded: $14,500,000