Mike Evans re-signs with Tampa, could signal Baker Mayfield comes back

On Monday, news broke that future Hall of Fame wide receiver Mike Evans would be re-signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, perhaps signaling that Baker Mayfield is returning as well.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Arguably the best free agent of the 2024 cycle, WR Mike Evans has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, keeping him from hitting the open market and perhaps indicating that Baker Mayfield returns as well. For teams who wanted to bid for Mike Evans in free agency, well, they now won't get to, as the stud WR has re-upped with the team that drafted him.

The two-year contract pays him an average of $26 million per year and guarantees him $35 million, which comes out to be $17.5 million per season, so it is a strong deal for the WR, who is set to enter his age-31 season in 2024. However, age has proven to not be an issue for Evans, who has played in the NFL for a decade and has had at least 1,000 receiving yards in each season of his career. Evans caught 79 passes for 1,255 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2023.

His 79 receptions ranked as the third-most of his career. He had the third-highest yardage total of his career, and his 13 touchdowns were the second-most he's caught, so he was very productive in 2023, and Baker Mayfield was his QB. Evans re-signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before free agency even begins does seem to be a huge indication that Baker Mayfield is also re-signing with the team.

The 2023 Buccaneers broke out a bit, winning nine games and advancing to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. Evans has won a Super Bowl and has made five Pro Bowls, so it's not like he's missing any accomplishments. I do think Evans has a desire to finish his career in Tampa, and this contract could also be indicating that as well.

Teams that could have been players for Mike Evans include the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, and Tennessee Titans, likely including some others.