Mike Evans Calls Tom Brady a 'Franchise-Changer' After Buccaneers Contract

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 10, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans takes a break on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans believes Jameis Winston would still be his quarterback if Tom Brady didn't decide to sign a two-year contract with the Bucs during free agency in March.

Evans discussed Brady and Winston during an Instagram Live session with former Tampa Bay receiver Louis Murphy, and the 26-year-old called Brady "a franchise-changer":

Bucs UK @BucsUK

Mike Evans saying it perfectly here. https://t.co/IilhTBSm5X

Winston, who signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on April 28, was selected No. 1 overall by Tampa in the 2015 NFL draft. The Buccaneers let him walk in free agency in favor of Brady, who had never been a free agent and played 20 years with the New England Patriots.

Evans has recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his six NFL seasons.

However, as prolific as Evans has been, the Buccaneers have not made the playoffs since 2007.

Contrastingly, Brady has not missed the postseason since the 2008 campaign, which he missed after suffering a torn ACL in the regular-season opener. The 42-year-old won six Super Bowls in New England, an all-time most for any one player in league history.

Brady's presence has already provided dividends for the Buccaneers, as former New England All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to join the quarterback he won three championships with in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

We've agreed to trade for TE Rob Gronkowski. 📰: https://t.co/zaGisKOSFu https://t.co/lujKVbOJFu

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

Welcome home, @TomBrady & @RobGronkowski. #GoBucs https://t.co/YRqwcEVzZ3

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

The appetizer of the whole meal 🍽️ #GoBucs https://t.co/HGnmjP0D3R

The Bucs will also have five prime-time regular-season games next season:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The TB12 effect 🐐 @brgridiron https://t.co/4KiOCziW9h

Winston led the NFL with 30 interceptions last season, while Brady threw only eight and has thrown 29 picks dating back to 2016. Head coach Bruce Arians expects improved efficiency to propel the Bucs forward:

Scott Smith @ScottSBucs

Bruce Arians says he thinks the Bucs are capable of going from 7-9 in 2019 to Super Bowl contention in 2020. He says talent is not an issue; the problem last year was turnovers.

CBS Sports Network @CBSSportsNet

"For Jameis, for me, it was the last two ball games. The regression back to the interceptions... It was disheartening because he had made progress then regressed." @BruceArians tells @TikiandTierney about the decision to move on from Jameis Winston. https://t.co/wTDhYocmU9

In addition to Evans and Gronkowski, Brady will have wide receiver Chris Godwin and tight end O.J. Howard to work with through the air.

Tampa is scheduled to begin the 2020 regular season against the Saints on Sunday, Sept. 13.