Mike Evans contract shows the value of tampering

Scouting Combine is Tampering Central. For some teams that hope to keep an impending free agent, that can complicate things. For other teams, it can be a good thing.

For the Buccaneers, tampering might have been a good thing.

For receiver Mike Evans to agree to terms on Monday, common sense suggests that his agents found out last week what was lurking behind Door No. 2. That made it easier to take what was behind Door No. 1.

And that could be the next shoe to drop for the Bucs. Evans presumably didn't re-sign without knowing who his quarterback will be. It might be just a matter of time before someone leaks to someone else that Baker Mayfield is re-signing, too.

If that happens before tomorrow afternoon, the Bucs can then apply the franchise tag to safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. That will keep all three of them in place for 2024.

That likely doesn't happen if Evans and Mayfield don't learn, through last week's rampant tampering, what else is out there. Evans is staying. Mayfield is likely next. And then Winfield, presumably with the tag — for now.