Buccaneers, star receiver Mike Evans engaged in preliminary extension talks

With the season underway, most prospective new deals in the NFL are on hold, but the emerging Tampa Bay Buccaneers are exploring a new contract with standout receiver Mike Evans, according to league sources. They are very early in the process, but the dialogue -- at a time when Evans has two years remaining on his deal and with Tampa Bay able to franchise him a third year after that -- is certainly a positive development.

Evans has become one of the more dominant receivers in the NFL and has a strong chemistry with budding franchise quarterback Jameis Winston. Since the start of the 2016 season, Evans is one of only two receivers in the top five in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, far outpacing his salary of $690,000 this season on his rookie contract (his fifth-year option is worth $13.25 million in 2018).

Elite receivers are earning roughly $15 million in 2017 compensation, and it may behoove Tampa Bay to get ahead of the Giants, who are dealing with a similar situation with Odell Beckham Jr.

It's unlikely the Bucs could franchise Evans more than once, given that they may need that tag to secure Winston the following year, and while there is no sense on either side that a deal is urgent, they do have an ongoing dialogue about the nature of the receiver market, where it is going and how Evans could fit in.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

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