The Big Question: Evans wasted in Buffalo?

May, 18, 2010
5/18/10
1:00
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Have receiver Lee Evans' abilities been squandered in Buffalo?


AP Photo/Mike GrollBills receiver Lee Evans hasn't lived up to his huge contract in Buffalo.
Two summers ago, the Buffalo Bills gave Lee Evans the third-richest contract for any receiver. The four-year extension was worth $37.25 million, with $18.25 million in guarantees. The deal put Evans behind only Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald financially.

The gesture was impressive, a sign of commitment from the Bills to a player on the rise. But the money hasn't been well-spent.

On another team, Evans would be worthy of the handsome investment. He has game-breaking speed and fantastic hands. He should own some dazzling stats.

Yet he never has been to a Pro Bowl, never has put together consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, never has cracked double-digit touchdowns -- all the things you'd expect from an elite receiver making elite money.

Evans, the 13th overall pick in 2004, flickered greatness. He was an immediate deep threat, scoring nine touchdowns and averaging 17.6 yards a catch as a rookie with Drew Bledsoe. Evans hasn't matched those numbers since, enduring a long list of offensive coordinators and substandard quarterbacks -- from J.P. Losman to Trent Edwards to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Evans has topped 63 receptions once, when he established career highs with 82 catches for 1,292 yards in 2006.

Pro-Football-Refernce.com has a feature that compares players whose careers were "of similar quality and shape."

Through three seasons, Evans was compared to the likes of Andre Rison, Ernest Givens, Andre Johnson and James Lofton.

Six seasons into Evans' career, he's grouped with Ron Shanklin, Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, James Scott and Steve Watson.

Evans still has time to make something of his career, but his time in Buffalo has generally been a waste.

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