Riders receiver Shaq Evans would only opt out of CFL contract for NFL guarantee

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Shaq Evans knows what the NFL can be like after being selected in the 2014 NFL draft.

The UCLA product was selected in the fourth round, 115th overall by the New York Jets. He spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve prior to being released by the Jets following training camp in 2015. Evans later bounced from practice squads in Jacksonville, New England and Dallas.

Following his first NFL stint, Evans signed with the Riders and he’s coming off an all-star season in 2019. Evans recorded 72 catches for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns. His first 1,000-yard season while displaying the potential to be a long-term No. 1 target in the CFL.

The CFL cancelled its 2020 season, which means Evans won’t have the chance to step on a three-down field this year. However, after the production put up the 29-year-old could be an intriguing addition for NFL teams needing a proven field stretcher, especially if the coronavirus wreaks havoc on franchises south of the border.

“I don’t want to go to a team and be another roster guy competing for a spot. At this point in training camp, someone coming in right now wouldn’t have a good chance making a spot,” Evans told 980 CJME radio reporter Britton Gray.

“I don’t want to opt out and then there’s no real opportunities that meet my needs and meet what I want. I want it to be something guaranteed, something where I’m getting money up front.”

Prior to free agency in February, Saskatchewan signed Evans to a one-year pact for around $200,000. The Riders showed Evans the money and that’s part of the reason why he remains loyal to the green and white. Not to mention the fact the franchise went 13-5 and came within a goalpost of going to the Grey Cup.

“I felt like a lot of guys were going to come back even better and when you come back better individually and you come collectively, you come back a better team,” Evans said.

“We felt like we were the best team last year and we just didn’t show up when we needed to and I felt like that lit a fire in our hearts.”