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 re-join the Buccaneers, 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 Brady’s rights should he have pursued a position with the Dolphins. Coach Bruce Arians, who stepped down last month to take a position 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 be set to 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 not only to the Dolphins but reports that Sean Payton was being lured out of retirement to join forces with Brady down south? “I make of it – chatter, just like you said. We’re focused on putting our team together here with the draft and we’re all excited, we’re all in lock-step 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 has been participating in the team’s draft meetings and will be present with Licht and Bowles in the draft war 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 wanna bring in really good players.”