Much has been made about the impact Tom Brady has had on the Bucs current roster construction, particularly the addition of former teammates tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Antonio Brown, as well as former Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette. Fans and some media have given Brady considerable credit on the Bucs’ signing of these players, especially Brown, whose addition to the roster after Arians had flat-out rejected the idea of signing the troubled wide receiver months earlier, seemed to indicate Brady’s influence on the Bucs’ brass.
But on Wednesday, Bucs GM Jason Licht provided some helpful clarification to Brady’s role in Tampa Bay’s roster construction.
“I would say Bruce and I both talk to Tom,” Licht said. “Why wouldn’t you, with the résumé that he has? I think it gets a little bit overblown. Tom isn’t banging down the door saying, ‘We need to sign this guy. We need to sign that guy. Bruce, we need to draft this guy’. We ask him his opinion at times [and] he gives us his opinion at times, but he never mandates anything, and he’s actually been a joy to work with.
“I think a little bit of that gets overblown. We like to advise with him on certain things, just like Bruce does with the game plan, but there has never been any kind of animosity or directive from him. In fact, most of the things that we do, we don’t consult with him on.”
Arians chimed in: “Yeah, I’m not sure he knew who Tristan Wirfs was last year.”
Licht added: “And he didn’t know Leonard Fournette was coming into the building (last year as a free agent signing).”
That last comment by Licht is interesting, as I recall seeing fans throughout the season assuming that Fournette was playing over Ronald Jones because Brady preferred the former top five pick. That may have ended up being the case, but it seems Brady had no impact on the Bucs reaching out to Fournette after the Jaguars’ released him.
It’s also clear that while Brady is certainly roped into discussions on certain players, most notably Gronkowski and Brown, he is far from the decision-driver that many painted him to be during the regular season. He has thoughts and opinions on players and scheme like every accomplished quarterback does, but he’s quite comfortable to be the quarterback of the team while the general manager and the head coach are…the general manager and the head coach. That kind of mutual respect and kinship between the three Buccaneers’ leaders is a big reason why the team ended up as Super Bowl champions a few weeks ago, and it’s a big reason why they’ll be able to compete for a title next season too.
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