Tom Brady could have let his resume do the talking.
Though the Buccaneers needed little convincing to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady apparently felt it necessary to pitch himself to Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht on why he believed he was a great fit for the team during the quarterback’s initial conversation with the team on the first day of free agency.
“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 on ESPN’s “Get Up!” on Monday morning.
“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.”
When it seemed unlikely the Bucs could land Brady, the team tabbed Teddy Bridgewater as their No. 2 choice — and former starter Jameis Winston as a third option — if Brady remained in New England or signed elsewhere. With the market for the 42-year-old quarterback thinner than Brady anticipated, the Bucs became an attractive destination, featuring one of the best wide receiver duos (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin) in the NFL.
The Bucs believe the aging quarterback can make the pair even better.
“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, echoing Arians, also ruled out a reunion between Brady and Antonio Brown, who has remain unsigned since his 13-day stint with the Patriots ended on Sept. 20 after he was accused of sexual assault and harassment.
“We feel like there’s a lot of teams that are struggling to find one really good receiver,” Licht 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.”