Jaguars can add a big name WR to their list of potential targets in free agency

• Mike Evans just had his contract void. He's now slated to become a free agent, and the Jaguars could target him if they move on from Calvin Ridley.

Jan 21, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a
Jan 21, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are getting ready for free agency, and so is the rest of the NFL. In the upcoming weeks, you'll see teams re-sign their own players and release others. Just recently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers voided the contracts of Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Mike Evans. The Jags aren't in the market for a starting quarterback but they could use help at wide receiver, especially if they move on from Calvin Ridley.

The Bucs voided Mayfield's and Evans' deals ahead of free agency. While they're not currently under contract, neither is allowed to sign with another team until free agency. Then again, clubs could start doing due diligence, if they're interested in pursuing either one. Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report first broke the news, noting that Tampa Bay and Evans were far apart in negotiations.

Evans, a five-time Pro Bowl nod, and one-time Super Bowl champion, wanted to sign a top-market contract. It's uncertain what the Buccaneers offer was but it's fair to assume that it wasn't good enough to retain him. Now, the former Texas A&M Aggie is set to hit the open market after spending his ten-year career with the Bucs.

A first-round pick in 2014, Evans has posted 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons. He's only the second player in NFL history to achieve such a feat. Hall-of-Fame receiver Jerry Rice is the other one. At 30, he's still going strong, so he should have a strong market in free agency.

Then again, there's a chance the Buccaneers will amp up their offer and reach an agreement before the free agency window opens on March 5th. It's not a given that it will but it could most definitely happen. If Evan does become available in free agency, he would then be a potential replacement for Calvin Ridley in case he leaves Jacksonville.

Why the Jaguars should go after Mike Evans

With Tee Higgins expected to get the franchise tag, Mike Evans will probably be the wide receiver available. Teams such as the Houston Texans or the Indianapolis Colts could make a bid for his services, but the Jaguars should take him into consideration if they fail to retain Ridley.

General manager Trent Baalke has made it clear that he wants Ridley to return. Trevor Lawrence echoed that sentiment the last time he met with the local media. Having said that, it's unknown, at least from an outside perspective, if the team's brass has engaged with the start receiver and his representatives. One potential roadblock to getting a deal done is that the terms of the trade they made for him include giving the Atlanta Falcons their 2024 second-round pick if they extended him.

The Jaguars could find a way around the trade terms but if they don't, giving up the second-rounder shouldn't deter them from re-signing Ridley. In the case they do lose him in free agency, they should then target Mike Evans if they want to address the position in free agency. That said, they could also look to the draft to find Ridley's potential replacement. When you take into account that it may be considerably cheaper, that may be the path the front office will take if they need help at receiver.

Mike Evans is a great receiver, so the Jacksonville Jaguars closely monitor his situation. However, they'll have ample options in free agency besides him, and most of them will probably be cheaper.

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