Commentary: The Bears should not pursue Mike Evans
Jeremy Reper - USA Today Sports

Commentary: The Bears should not pursue Mike Evans

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Wide receiver is undoubtedly one of the top needs for the Chicago Bears going into next season. Mike Evans is the best free agent option at wide receiver if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not give him a new contract. So it would seem like a perfect match for the Bears to go after Mike Evans, so why shouldn’t they?

The Bears have a lot of money in the salary cap for next season, almost $50 million. What it really comes down to is the money because while Chicago could certainly afford to pick up Evans, such a move would hamper them from picking up other players.

Free agency is a big time for the Bears; they made many significant free agency pickups last season, including Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards. However, Chicago had more room in the salary cap as well as strategically making deals to be salary cap friendly. Mike Evans is a player where that is difficult to do. He is an elite receiver, and the wide receiver market has gotten out of control. His last contract was a five-year, $82 million deal, but according to Spotrac, he would now be due at least $23.8 million a year.

Realistically, he would most likely demand more than $23.8 million a year. Mike Williams, who is not on the level of Mike Evans, is set to make $20 million next season. Amari Cooper, who had fewer receiving yards this season than Evans, is also set to make $20 million in 2024. Evans is coming off a season where he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns, which will further boost his stock for the purposes of contract negotiations.

As the Bears proved with DJ Moore, they are not going to pay that much for a wide receiver. Moore is an elite receiver who had over 100 more receiving yards than Evans. He was undoubtedly the No. 1 receiver last season, whereas Evans played alongside a strong No. 2 in Chris Godwin (when he was healthy). Moore will be making slightly over $16 million next season. That is a lot different than Evans will demand, and for someone who will probably be the No. 2 receiver to Moore, that is not worth the cost.

Of course, there is an argument to be made for why the Bears should pursue Evans.

He is the best wide receiver that will be available in free agency and Chicago desperately needs another receiver to play alongside Moore. Further, the Bears can afford this because they will still have a quarterback on a rookie contract whether they stick with Fields or decide to draft someone. Having two dangerous weapons for either Fields or a rookie quarterback to throw to certainly makes the offense incredibly dangerous and allows for more explosive plays, something they lacked in 2023.

Having two weapons for the quarterback is certainly the biggest advantage of getting Evans, and that would benefit any quarterback who steps into this position. However, there are less expensive ways to do this. Players such as Tee Higgins and KJ Osborn will be available in free agency; both are quite inexpensive, likely compared to Evans. Couple one of those players with a wide receiver selected on the first or second day of the NFL Draft, you have a talented receiving core and a lot of money to spend on the other position needs in Chicago.

Under general manager Ryan Poles, the Bears have a habit of smart spending and not giving such expensive contracts that it is a detriment to the rest of the team. This is something that will undoubtedly carry into this offseason; pursuing Evans would be a deviation from their established pattern.

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