Mark Evans NIL New Orleans Saints
Arkansas-Pine Bluff

New Orleans Saints rookie goes from homeless to top-paid UDFA

New Orleans Saints have compensated Mark Evans better than many players who were selected in the NFL Draft.

A lot has been made about HBCU players not getting selected in the NFL Draft, but it is paying off quite well for New Orleans Saints rookie Mark Evans II.

The former Arkansas-Pine Bluff standout didn’t hear his name called in the draft, but he is making a healthy sum as a priority free agent. He is set to make $241,000 in guaranteed money according to Saints reporter Mark Triplett. That makes him the highest paid undrafted free agent on the team this year. 

It’s a far cry from where Evans was less than six years ago. Hurricane Harvey cost his family everything, and pushed them into temporary homelessness. He was one of five people sharing a room at his mother’s co-worker’s home as the family attempted to get back on their feet. 

“After going through that, I feel like I can go through anything,” Evans II told HBCU Gameday’s Tolly Carr last year at SWAC Media Day.”

That situation made Evans have to grow up quickly, knowing he had others looking at him — including his younger brother.

“If I crack under pressure, what kind of example is it going to set for him?” Mark Evans said. “I just wanted to be a face for the family. They look at me, they see that I’m going through all this, I’m keeping it pushing, it’s like a sense of courage for everybody.”

Mark Evans, New Orleans Saints

When asked how much motivation providing for his mother was, Evans didn’t mince words. 

“This is a way to repay her. I can never repay her fully, but if I can take care of her — give her a home or a car or something like that —  just to show that I’m grateful for everything she’s done for me.”

Evans isn’t the only former HBCU star who got more than $200k from the New Orleans Saints.

Former South Carolina State wide receiver Shaq Davis quickly signed with the franchise and he ended up with a $216,000 bonus. 

New Orleans Saints rookie goes from homeless to top-paid UDFA
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