Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was “really antsy” leading up to the NFL Draft in April. After being on pins and needles for weeks, he admits that waiting for Tom Brady’s decision made him anxious.
The “who is tom brady playing for” is a question that has been asked by many sports fans. Bucs GM Jason Licht admitted to being “antsy” waiting for Tom Brady’s decision.
Tom Brady attempted retirement, but it didn’t work out for him. He announced his return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd NFL season, much to the delight of general manager Jason Licht, the front office, and the whole franchise. They moved from worrying who would be the next quarterback to welcoming back the GOAT.
With the return of TB12, the Buccaneers will try to avenge their playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round. Prior to the news, it looked like the Bucs would take a significant step backwards in 2022.
Brady’s retirement was short-lived, but Licht believes his stunning comeback was timed well.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht on Tom Brady’s decision to return to the game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady warms up before facing the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Playoffs’ Divisional Round | Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann
Following Tom Brady’s retirement from football, numerous league observers predicted that the 15-time Pro Bowl quarterback would return, and that prediction came true.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had no idea what Brady’s intentions were, but they hoped he would reconsider his decision to retire. TB12’s choice, according to general manager Jason Licht, was a domino that needed to fall into place.
“Every now and again, we’d touch base. “I’m sure Bruce [Arians] felt the same way,” Licht stated on The Rich Eisen Show. “You could still sense that he wanted to play a little bit.” We didn’t want to attempt to corner him into making a choice for us. I was starting to become a bit worried about the Combine. We had no notion he was going to return at the time. However, free agency was set to begin in a week.”
Timing is key, and Jason Licht was relieved that Tom Brady didn’t add to the confusion by announcing his unretirement too soon.
The impact of Brady’s return on Tampa Bay’s free agency
In 2021, the Buccaneers finished first in the NFC South with a 13-4 record. Without Tom Brady, it was unknown what to expect from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022. Fortunately for Jason Licht and the rest of the team, they don’t have to worry about it just now.
The Bucs were able to get a better view of what things may look like in 2022 by bringing Brady back before the NFL Scouting Combine and free agency.
The return of the three-time MVP seemed to open the floodgates a little in free agency. The chance to play alongside legends is a compelling selling factor. Center Ryan Jensen was an unrestricted free agent, but he quickly re-signed after learning of Brady’s return. Also recently re-upped were running back Leonard Fournette and cornerback Carlton Davis.
Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage and defensive back Logan Ryan were among the prominent free agents signed by the Buccaneers from other teams.
The window of opportunity for Tampa Bay to win a title is still open.
The Buccaneers’ front staff has been tight-lipped on TB12’s future beyond 2022.
At the age of 44, Tom Brady is doing something that should not be humanly possible: playing football. He’s not just doing it well, but he’s doing it at a high level. When the 2022 regular season starts, the seven-time Super Bowl winner will be 45 years old, but to him, age is only a number.
In 2021, Brady set NFL records for completions, throw attempts, passing yards, and touchdowns. He didn’t seem to be slowing down, which added to his desire to keep playing.
Jason Licht was questioned about the Buccaneers’ plans regarding Brady through the 2022 season and beyond by Rich Eisen, but the general manager kept his answers close to his chest.
“You know what, I’m going to be ambiguous there as well,” Licht said. “We may be able to make a cap space change.” That’s difficult for me since I never discuss contracts in public. All I know is that Tom will play for us this year, and we’ll see how things go.”
Jason, you articulated it perfectly.
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