Buccaneers reward durable, productive Mike Evans with new deal

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed wide receiver Mike Evans to a five-year contract extension on Friday.

Here's a closer look at the signing:

Grade: A. Jameis Winston gets his top target for five more years while the Bucs reward arguably their most consistent performer on offense. Evans' $55 million guaranteed is the most of any wide receiver in league history, besting DeAndre Hopkins' $49 million ($36.5 million guaranteed at signing) and Calvin Johnson's $48.7 million.

What it means: Over the first three years of the deal, Evans will average $18 million per season, consistent with the Bucs' current practice of eating the largest cap hit early on in the contract. That should allow the Bucs to afford Winston when it's time for his extension, which should easily exceed $100 million total and $20 million per year.

Evans also has the same structure as Julio Jones with his rolling guarantee, protecting him in the front end and with a roster bonus in the sixth year, which forces the Bucs to make an early decision in the final year of his deal in the form of a guarantee, a source said.

What's the risk: Evans has been productive and durable for the Bucs, reaching 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons and only missing three games. But he needs to be more consistent in the red zone to live up to this contract. He had 12 touchdown catches in both 2014 and 2016, but had just three in 2015 and five in 2017. Evans also needs to get more yards after the catch, something he has been focusing on since last year. And he needs to continue working to keep his emotions in check, having been suspended for a game in 2017 due to a scuffle with New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

The Bucs still have to pay tight end Cameron Brate, an exclusive rights free agent in 2018 and an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Pro Bowl linebacker Kwon Alexander will also become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 and is looking for $13 million annually, according to a source. Then there's center/guard Ali Marpet and left tackle Donovan Smith, who will be unrestricted free agents in 2019. It will take some tricky maneuvering by Bucs cap guru Mike Greenberg to make this all work.