Occasionally in this game of NFL Football, you hear something about a player that epitomizes the terms selfless and a team player. In a world where the bottom line is usually about the cold hard cash. It is extremely refreshing to hear about anything that deviates from that norm. If you keep up close with the League, you know that Tom Brady, while in New England, took less money than his actual worth on the market. As a matter of fact, he sacrificed 60 million in income for the Patriots over his time there. He did this to keep or sign teammates to make the team stronger overall. Apparently, Bill Belichick never appreciated it much, but that’s a different story altogether.
Bucs players have not found themselves in situations where there was much need to personally sacrifice income to keep the team under the cap, and therefore together. These are different times, though. For only the second time in team history, the players have a ring on their finger; (Brady now has seven, Gronk has four), and going into the next season will be the odds on favorite for another one. That is, of course, if the Bucs can make some very important signings of their own in keeping some stars from moving on in the free agency. Rob Gronkowski, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette will all be without contracts for next season, and that’s just on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, the team is looking to retain sack master Shaq Barrett, defensive captain Lavonte David, and standout lineman Ndamukong Suh. The team is looking to have $$28,896,683 in cap space. – per overthecap.com. That figure isn’t enough to sign all the players that could leave the team.
The team is aware of this fact, and one player has stood up and made an offer to the team. Mike Evans, always known to be a very selfless player has offered to take less pay to free up money that would be used on the list of free agents the team wants to retain. After the Super Bowl, Bruce Arians was asked about the free-agent situation and keeping the team intact; he had this to say about Mike Evans and his offer to the team:
“Mike Evans is the most unselfish superstar I’ve ever met,” Arians said, via Pro Football Talk. “He’s told us to use some of his money if we need to contracts to keep the team together.” Arians then went on to say this about the situation, “I’m very, very confident,” Arians said Monday. “I have all the trust in the world in general manager Jason Licht and what he would do. These guys, they have a bond. There will be dollars involved. But I think that this group is so, so close that sometimes dollars don’t matter. But we’re going to do everything we can to get the dollars right, too, because they earned it.”
“The biggest thing is keeping our guys. You know, do what we can, make sure that we keep our guys here and hit a home run in free agency, just with our guys,” Arians said. “Maybe an outside guy, just keep our guys and then Jason will hit another home run in the draft, and we’ll continue to build this football team. And you know, we don’t have many weak spots if we get the guys back that we want back and need back. We’ll just be adding great athletes in the draft.” – quotes per CBS Sports.com
All true Bucs Fans have known for some time what a treasure Mike Evans has been to this team. Evans did nothing to take away from that feeling with his offer to the team. While we may not be able to keep all of the free agents, Mike Evans’s offer to the team will go a long way in keeping the most important ones. Salute to you Mike Evans, for showing that the love of the game and your team is still alive in players like you. Thank you. Go Bucs!!