Rumored demands eliminate Patriots from signing top receiver

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

With around $100 million in cap space after releasing J.C. Jackson earlier this week, the Patriots have a lot of money to play with and use to reset their team for the 2024 season.

Although there aren't many top-quality players in the positions New England needs set to hit free agency, their focus was likely going to be on wide receivers, and this looked like the year they would finally surround their next quarterback with the right talent.

Atop that list was Mike Evans, even if some were not thrilled about his age. But there's no denying his talent and how beneficial he would be on the Patriots offense. He initially seemed like a long shot regardless of the plentiful funds Jerod Mayo could spend on him, and now it looks like they're eliminated from even meeting with Evans, at least according to a new report.

NFL insider Jordan Schultz published a statement from Evans' agent on Saturday morning, detailing what the receiver is looking for in a new team. It doesn't mean he won't return to Tampa Bay if the deal is right, but based on his wants for his team, the Patriots look to be out before they could officially be in.

“Mike wants to play with an elite quarterback in an offense that will showcase him — and be paid like a top wide receiver. He doesn’t want to play with a rookie QB. Winning a Super Bowl is a key priority.”

If this were five years ago or more, there would be absolutely no doubt about Evans being interested in becoming a Patriot. With uncertainty at quarterback and the hope of becoming a contender down the road, all signs point to Evans landing in a place like Kansas City and not New England.

The only way that could change is if Alex Van Pelt's presence is enticing enough to get Baker Mayfield in the door. Evans has expressed his desire to play for an elite quarterback and reportedly enjoyed his time with Mayfield last season.

So, signing the quarterback could potentially change Evans' mind.

If it doesn't, some other options will be available, like Calvin Ridley, who has also been connected to the Patriots in past years. Luckily, we don't have to wait much longer to find out, as free agency begins on March 13.

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