Mike Evans’ new contract with Tampa Bay makes him among the highest-paid receivers in the history of the game, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, and vaults him with the likes of Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones in terms of compensation. The five-year, $82.5 million contract extension runs through the 2023 season and is worth a maximum of a little less than $96 million.
Evans had one year remaining on his entry-level contract but is now secured by the Buccaneers throughout his prime, with the former first-round pick emerging as one of the elite playmakers in the NFL and the prime target for young quarterback Jameis Winston.
His cap numbers are manageable through most of the contract (the bulk of his guaranteed money would be paid out before Winston would be on a second contract), and the cap numbers in the final three years of the deal work in the favor of both Evans and the team.
He has become a fixture in the Tampa community and back home in Texas through his outreach work, partnering with Amanda White of Day 1 Sports to run his foundation. Evans was a second-team All-Pro in 2016, and has twice reached 12 receiving touchdowns in a season.
That sort of role is exactly what the Cowboys have available, because Alfred Morris played himself into a bigger one when Elliott was out. Morris looked like a starting NFL running back during Elliott’s suspension, and someone is going to give him a chance to play as one. That leaves Elliott and Rod Smith in the Cowboys back field. They need one more running back, one who better approximates Elliott’s skill set than Smith does. That would be Peterson.
He doesn’t have close to the physical talent that Elliott has in the prime of his career, but Peterson can still contribute as a first- and second-down runner. He had games of 134 and 159 rushing yards on an Arizona offense without nearly the offensive line that the Cowboys could provide. With Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick in front of him, Peterson could be a very valuable runner, and one who carries a bigger load than most would expect.
The Broncos could do a three-year deal to make it more enticing for Cousins, who would then find himself back in the open market for another enormous payday if things go as well as he and the Broncos think they would. But a four-year deal does much the same thing, and the Broncos would have one more year to prorate some of the cap charges in the deal. The Broncos kept wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas on the roster — there were rumblings that both could be salary-cap casualties — as part of the presentation.