In case anyone was still wondering, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht cleared up the Tom Brady situation. Arians and Licht, speaking from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, left no doubt where the Bucs and Brady stand. Unfortunately, there is still plenty of doubt about where the Bucs’ quarterback situation stands.
Yes, the Bucs would welcome Brady back as their quarterback. And, if the star signal caller un-retired, the Bucs would do whatever it took to make the financials work.
“I think with a Tom Brady, I personally, never want to completely close the door,” Licht said. “Now, I don’t have any information that suggests that he is going to come back. I’m very good friends with him. We talk, [but] we haven’t talked about that. Don’t want to apply any pressure in that regard right now. But he’s Tom Brady. If Tom Brady wants to come back, we’d welcome him back.”
Bucs QB Tom Brady and HC Bruce Arians – Photo by: USA Today
No, the Bucs don’t expect Brady to un-retire. They’ve heard his reasons for retiring, and they believe he’ll stay that way as a result. As Licht said, they’ll leave the light on for him. But they certainly aren’t banking on his return.
“I have no information,” Licht said. “I’ve talked with Tom, but not about this. Just because we’re friends. I’ve talked to Tom several times. But not about this. So I don’t have any information that he’s going to come back. But on a player like Tom Brady, you just never shut the door.
“So until we make a decision on what we’re going to do, or what presents itself. Sometimes the decision isn’t made by [us], sometimes it’s made by other factors. But, yeah, never say never. But I don’t have any new information saying that he’s coming back.”
Yes, the Bucs are still unlikely to draft a quarterback early this year. They believe in Kyle Trask enough to let him have a chance. And it sure doesn’t sound like Licht or Arians are fans of this quarterback class.
“We drafted Kyle Trask [in the second round] for a reason,” Arians said. “He fits everything we want to do [at the] quarterback [position]. I really, really liked what I saw for a year. So I doubt drafting is an option. For all the other guys, it’s going to be a trade. Well, you don’t trade by yourself – you’ve got to have a partner, so that could be out of the question.”
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson – Photo by: USA Today
No, they don’t expect to be able to trade for another team’s premier starting quarterback. Most teams don’t want to part ways with a great quarterback with no clear Plan B on their roster.
“There’s always some chatter,” Licht said on the trade market. “There’s always some talk. It’s usually a little more talk than it is action.”
“Trades are just out of the question,” Arians said. “You have to have a partner. These guys aren’t just willing and calling. ‘Hey you want my guy?’ Who is behind door No. 2 for them? So I don’t see very many of these guys moving. There might be one. Max two. Guys that we think could take us to the Super Bowl. I like about eight of them. But they’re all playing for somebody else. I don’t see teams giving up quarterbacks.”
No, the Bucs won’t trade Brady to another team. And he hasn’t asked for a trade or indicated he wants to play elsewhere at all.
“Nope, it’s bad business,” Arians said. He’s referring to the fact that the Bucs could never get a trade return matching Brady’s value to them.
It’s going to be hard for the Bucs to find an elite quarterback this offseason. But they can absolutely build their roster back up to entice a top signal caller at a later date. They did it with Brady two years ago. There’s no reason to believe they can’t do it again in the future.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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