- Covered the Buccaneers since 2009
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TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday that despite reports that quarterback Tom Brady was prepared to be named a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins and possibly play for them before coming out of retirement to rejoin the Bucs, he and the seven-time Super Bowl winner have had no discussions about that, nor have they discussed sealing Brady for the future with a new contract.
“No, we haven’t had those discussions,” said Licht, who has known Brady since 2002, when Licht was the New England Patriots’ assistant director of player personnel. “The only discussions I’ve had, we’ve had, with Tom has been, he came back and we’re excited about this year and we’re excited to get going.”
Brady is under contract with the Bucs for one more season, so they would have held onto his rights had he pursued a position with the Dolphins. Coach Bruce Arians, who stepped down last month to take a post in the Bucs’ front office, with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles becoming the new head coach, said at the NFL combine that the Bucs would not accommodate Brady or another team should he choose to leave.
“Nope. Bad business,” Arians said, before adding that it would require more than a king’s ransom for a team to snatch Brady away. “Five No. 1s. Maybe,” Arians said. Brady has not committed to playing beyond 2022 and would become an unrestricted free agent after this season if he opts to continue playing, meaning he’d be able to sign with any team at that point.
What does Licht make of all the chatter linking Brady to the Dolphins along with reports that Sean Payton was being lured out of retirement to join forces with the 44-year-old quarterback down south?
“I make of it — chatter, just like you said,” Licht said. “We’re focused on putting our team together here with the draft and we’re all excited, we’re all in lockstep here — Tom, Todd [Bowles], myself, Byron [Leftwich], the entire coaching staff — on this season.”
Arians’ new role with the team still has not been carved out but he is participating in the team’s pre-draft meetings and will be present with Licht and Bowles in the draft room.
“The philosophy hasn’t changed,” Licht said. “It’s just been meeting more with Todd more now as the head coach — more one-on-one and in some group settings too. Bruce has still been involved. He’s still been in our meetings. I meet with Bruce periodically and he’s gonna be involved here as we put the final touches on our draft too. Our philosophy hasn’t changed. We still want to bring in really good players.”
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