The New England Patriots reportedly were interested in Mike Evans before the veteran wideout agreed to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Evans and the Buccaneers came to an agreement on a two-year contract worth $52 million, as first reported by NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo. Evans was scheduled to hit free agency March 13 before the deal came into place.

The Athletic’s Dianna Russini followed up Garafolo’s report and cited a handful of teams interested in Evans. Russini reported the Patriots were among those “hoping to land” Evans in free agency.

The Titans, Rams, Chiefs, Giants, Panthers, Falcons and Jaguars all were interested in the 30-year-old wide receiver, per Russini.

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The number of interested suitors doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Evans was widely considered one of the top receivers set to hit the open market. And the market wasn’t deep to begin with.

With Evans off the board, it means one less option for receiver-needy teams like the Patriots. Tee Higgins previously received the franchise tag from the Cincinnati Bengals and Michael Pittman Jr. is unlikely to leave the Indianapolis Colts.

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Calvin Ridley, who has always felt like the most realistic option for the Patriots, likely will be viewed as the best available.

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