Tampa Bay Buccaneers ‘keeping the light on’ for Tom Brady to unretire

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) /

Tom Brady has retired, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht is not ruling out The GOAT’s return for 2022.

In a sit-down interview with Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said, “you always leave the light on for a guy like Tom Brady.”

Licht and Schrager were among the many NFL people in Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine. While Schrager did say the Buccaneers have a roster talented enough to win a depleted NFC South division without a great quarterback, he did press the Buccaneers general manager on if Brady will hold off retirement and come back in 2022 for his age-45 season out of Michigan.

Though Licht did speak highly of second-year pro Kyle Trask, the only quarterback under contract on the Buccaneers for 2022, he did hint that the franchise could make an exception for Brady if he wants to return. Who wouldn’t?

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht says he will keep a light on for Tom Brady to return

If Brady were to come back, the Buccaneers would go from a borderline playoff team in a terrible division to a Super Bowl contender in the NFC. Where it stands now, the NFC South is completely up for grabs. The New Orleans Saints are heading towards a rebuild, the Atlanta Falcons have a limited ceiling and the Carolina Panthers are one bad season away from Matt Rhule getting fired.

Ultimately, it serves the Buccaneers to explore all of their options rather than sit back patiently and wait for Brady to reconsider his decision to retire. Rolling out Trask, re-signing Blaine Gabbert or seeing what the NFL Draft or NFL free agency hold is not how Tampa Bay repeats in the NFC South. They can go in those directions, but that means they are no longer a contender in 2022.

While they could orchestrate a blockbuster trade of sorts to find Brady’s long-term successor, he did say he wanted to play until he is 45. Brady retired a few weeks ago after his age-44 season. Surely, the Buccaneers would love to have him back for one last dance. By embracing all things creamsicle in 2023, it signifies that the Buccaneers are probably heading towards a rebuild soon.

Holding out hope for someone to come back rarely ends well, but this is about waiting for Brady.

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