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Can we count the Panthers out on free-agent WR Mike Evans?

The Carolina Panthers may be getting cut out of another pipe dream for a big-name free-agent receiver.

According to Bleacher Report NFL insider Jordan Schultz, Mike Evans will be entering the open market with some pretty big criteria. Schultz, who says he spoke with Evans’ agent Deryk Gilmore, reported that the five-time Pro Bowl wideout wants to “play with an elite quarterback in an offense that will showcase him” and to “be paid like a top wide receiver.”

Even prior to this latest nugget, Carolina already seemed to be an unlikely destination for Evans—who will be 31 years old when the 2024 regular season begins. The timelines—with the Panthers rebuilding and Evans going into his 11th pro campaign—don’t really match up.

The money may not line up either. While Carolina is in the upper half of the league in salary cap space, holding on to approximately $35 million, a good chunk of their resources may be allocated on keeping around the likes of Brian Burns, Frankie Luvu and/or Derrick Brown.

That “in an offense that will showcase him” part, however, could be a tiny ray of hope. Under new Panthers head coach Dave Canales, who served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator this past season—Evans recorded 79 receptions (third-most in his career), 1,255 receiving yards (second-most) and a league-leading 13 touchdown catches (second-most).

Again, the marriage already felt improbable. And while the next week or so could bring some unforeseen developments, we should probably keep the expectations down in this case.

Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire