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Report: Buccaneers WR Mike Evans plans to hit free agency this offseason

Mike Evans will officially be a free agent later this month after spending his first decade in the league with the Buccaneers

Mike Evans' time in Tampa may be coming to an end.

The longtime Buccaneers wide receiver is planning to hit free agency this offseason, according to The Athletic's Diana Russini. Evans is still reportedly in discussions with the Buccaneers about a new contract, so he could return to the team next fall. He does, however, want to see if there are other options for him elsewhere in the league before making a decision, according to the Athletic's report.

The Buccaneers first selected Evans with the No. 7 overall pick in 2014 out of Texas A&M. He had 1,255 yards and 13 touchdowns last season while leading them to a third straight division title.

The 30-year-old also became the first wide receiver in NFL history to hit the 1,000-yard mark in each of his first 10 seasons in the league last fall. Evans is the second receiver to have 10 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice had 14 such seasons in his career.

Mike Evans and the Buccaneers are reportedly still in discussions about a new contract.
Mike Evans and the Buccaneers are reportedly still in discussions about a new contract. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Evans was most recently on a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Buccaneers, which paid him about $16.5 million per season. By comparison, Miami Dolphins star Tyreek Hill is making $30 million per season on his contract, and Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams is earning $28 million per year.

It's unclear how far along Evans and the Buccaneers are in discussions regarding a deal to keep him with the franchise in free agency. The two sides failed to reach a deal before the 2023 season started, and they then tabled discussions until the season ended. General manager Jason Licht said at the NFL scouting combine earlier this week that he didn't want to let Evans go.

"He's an unprecedented player. We want him to be a Buc for life. We're working towards that," general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday in Indianapolis, via ESPN. "Obviously it takes two sides. I know he wants to be a Buc. We'll probably have to strain a little bit but we're working towards that right now."

The free-agent negotiation window opens March 11, and the signing period starts March 13.