LAKE BUENA VISTA — Bucs receiver Mike Evans led one of the league’s most prolific passing offenses, and his record-setting season was rewarded with his second trip to the Pro Bowl.
And even though Tampa Bay’s pass attack didn’t translate to many wins, Evans said Wednesday he’d like to see the team’s receiver corps remain intact in 2019.
That includes retaining wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Evans said Wednesday after completing his first Pro Bowl practice at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World.
“Of course, of course,” Evans said. “He’s an extraordinary player with an extraordinary talent that you can’t find just anywhere. We went fishing. I hope he comes back. If not, it’s his decision and the team’s decision.”
Jackson’s $10 million salary for 2019 is not guaranteed, and through it was widely presumed the team wouldn’t keep Jackson for this coming season, new coach Bruce Arians said he wanted to reach out to Jackson and get him back on board. Jackson told TMZ last week he hadn’t spoken with Arians.
Evans and Jackson comprised one of the NFL’s top deep-threat duos, with Jackson averaging 18.9 yards per catch and Evans averaging 17.7 yards per reception. Though their seasons were incredibly different: Evans set a franchise record with a career-high 1,524 receiving yards, and Jackson’s role in the offense diminished down the stretch as he missed four of the final five games of the season with a thumb injury. Second-year receiver Chris Godwin filled Jackson’s role at the No. 2 receiver in his absence.
Jackson didn’t deny reports that he asked to be traded at the deadline.
On the field, Jackson didn’t have the same success with Jameis Winston at quarterback — they connected on just 37.8 percent of his targets, compared to 71.1 percent with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center.
Evans said he'd also like to see pending free agent Adam Humphries return. Humphries set career highs in receptions (76), yards (816) and touchdown catches (five) in 2018.
“I love Adam Humphries,” Evans said. "He deserves to be paid at the caliber he’s at. He’s one of the best No. 3′s in this league. He deserves to be paid, and hopefully it’s here (in Tampa).
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.