The Buccaneers welcomed Tom Brady to Tampa yesterday via a conference call with the local and national media.
As the quarterback carousel has turned this off season, most thought that Brady would work out a last minute deal to stay in New England.
Brady said the moment of truth came for him in a meeting with Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Sunday night right before the free agency period started.
The decision was made that Brady would not return to the Patriots making Brady a free agent for the first time in his 20 year career.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians speaking with Rich Eisen of the NFL Network said that when the Bucs knew that Brady was going to be available, that they would be all in to Bring Brady to Tampa to replace Winston as their starting quarterback.
Arians went on to say that Teddy Bridgewater was the number two choice for the Bucs. Bridgewater ended up signing a three year deal with the Carolina Panthers to be their starting quarterback.
Arians also said that had things with Brady not worked out, that they would have been happy to have Winston back as their quarterback.
Jason Licht opened up the call talking about their pursuit of Tom Brady. “ Tom is quite simply the greatest quarterback to play the game of football. Any time you can add someone of his caliber, you instantly make your organization better. Going after Tom in free agency was our number one priority this offseason because we knew he would be a perfect fit for what we are trying to do here.”
Arians is very excited as well to work with the GOAT. “He makes everyone better that walks into that huddle. I’m just excited to get started.”
It may be a while before Brady and Arians can be on the field together as the NFL has canceled OTA’s and mini-camp until further notice.
The leadership aspect and the ability to make those around him better are the things that attracted the Bucs to Brady in the first place. Brady has that ability to hold everyone on the field accountable and lead by example. Nobody on this team will be more accountable or out work Tom Brady.
Then it was Tom Brady’s turn. Speaking on what attracted him to the Buccaneers and coach Bruce Arians. “I’ve watched this offense over a long period of time with a lot of different quarterbacks that have had a lot of success. It’s a great offense for the quarterback. It’s a great offense for the receivers, for the tight ends and for the running backs. There’s been a lot of great players who have been a part of working with Coach Arians.”
Brady also said the commitment to win was one of the deciding factors in his decision to come to Tampa, “There were a lot of things that really were intriguing to me about the organization. The players, the coaches, and the willingness of everyone to try to accomplish what the goal of playing football is, which is to win.”
Brady also likes the offensive talent that has been assembled. “There are some really talented players here on this offense that have very unique skill sets and it’s really my responsibility. I’ve got to be able to deliver that ball to the guy who can do something with it.”
And so the Brady era begins in Tampa. If the 43 year old plays at the level that he has for the last couple of seasons that should mean a few more wins for the Bucs and a return to the playoffs. The fans will then look back on this as one of the better free agent signings of the Jason Licht era.
If old age catches up to Brady and he plays like a 43 year old, then it was money wasted and will go down as another poor signing by Jason Licht.
The Bucs are taking a gamble. They rolled the dice, and are betting that Brady will deliver wins, put butts in the seats, and lead the Bucs to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.