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Is Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans in line for a big payday down the line?

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Soon, the big money should thrown at Tampa Bay Bucs’ receiver Mike Evans, too.

These days, what wide receivers seem to catch the most are paychecks. On Tuesday, for instance, both Dallas receiver Dez Bryant and Denver receiver DeMaryius Thomas signed contracts for five years and $70 million. When you factor in the contract that Detroit’s Calvin Johnson signed two years ago, and the ones that Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green will get next year, it’s an impressive way to earn a living.

Now, consider this. In a recent ESPN poll about the rising star of the NFC South, three of the four panelists selected Evans, who was a rookie for the Bucs last year.

The thinking is simple. Evans had an impressive year with 68 catches for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns even though he lacked a star quarterback or a solid offensive line. Now, with No. 1 draft pick Jameis Winston having a shot at stardom, his catches – and his money – should climb.

The NFL these days is a passer-and-catcher league. Even with his 68 catches, Evans was only tied for 36th in the league. Vincent Jackson was better – ranking 33rd in the league with 70 catches and 1,002 yards – as wide receiver was clearly the strength of the Bucs’ 30th ranked offense.

It will be interesting to see how those statistics compare this season.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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