Just over a week since six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a two-year, $50 million deal, general manager Jason Licht says the 42-year-old tried to sell the organization on why he would be a good fit in Tampa Bay.
Licht joined Mike Greenburg on ESPN’s Get Up on Monday discussing his first phone call with Brady on March 18 and how the quarterback began pitching his abilities.
“We had a great conversation — Bruce and I — we talked to him for over an hour and a half. And he made it clear in the conversation that he was very, very interested,” Licht said. “It was almost like a recruitment on his part, telling us why it would make sense for him to come to Tampa Bay. The next call we made, we signed him, but it was at that phone call that we realized, that we felt like we had him.”
There was evidence that the Buccaneers had been planning to attempt signing Brady since February when head coach Bruce Arians answered a question asked by reporters at the NFL Combine about one quarterback he would pick up the phone for. Arians replied with a smile, “Tom Brady.”
Brady joins two Pro-Bowl receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on an offense that should rank among the league’s best next season. Arians and Licht also feel optimistic about Brady’s throwing strength even though he is coming off an average year stat-wise in New England.
“The tape showed to us that he had plenty of arm. In fact, we thought that he had an ideal arm for Bruce in his system,” Licht said. “He can still throw it deep. We felt like the mobility was still the same as he’s always had, which, he’s never been able to outrun anybody. But he certainly is good in the pocket in terms of eluding pressure and with his poise and his instincts. We did not see a decline in his arm talent whatsoever. And, in fact, we feel like he could still play for over two years for us, and hopefully that’s the case.”
Licht later addressed Arians’ comments from last week about the possibility of Antonio Brown joining the Bucs when the coach said, “Yeah, it’s not gonna happen. There’s no room. And probably not enough money. But it’s not gonna happen — it’s not a fit here. … It’s not a fit in our locker room.”
Licht clarified the organization’s stance on Brown. “We feel like there’s a lot of teams that are struggling to find one really good receiver,” he said. “And we have two really outstanding receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Right now, there is only so much money that can go around. There are no plans to sign any other receiver at this time. Antonio is somebody that Bruce has come out and had some words about, and Bruce knows him better than all of us. So right now, I would just say that we’re focused on other areas of our team.”
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