A day after ESPN reported the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are willing to give impending free agent Tom Brady essentially "whatever he wants" if he comes to Florida, signs continue to point to Bruce Arians and Co. making the longtime New England Patriots quarterback their No. 1 target of the offseason. The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud reported Wednesday, a week before the official start of 2020 free agency, that the Bucs "are going all in on Tom Brady."
It's true. The franchise that has not reached the postseason in 12 years will do almost anything to land the quarterback ... This is not hype. It's hope. This is fact, not fantasy. This is the plan. This is the Bucs' play.
Arians, who's entering his second year as the Bucs' head coach, has talked openly about exploring potential upgrades at quarterback, where incumbent -- and polarizing -- starter Jameis Winston is also set to hit free agency. And it's no secret, Stroud said, that Arians would prefer to make a change there. The veteran coach's history with older QBs -- Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer among them -- has long been cited as a reason Tampa Bay could be a suitor for the 42-year-old Brady.
The Glazer family, which owns the team, "have not wanted to give up on Winston," who just turned 26 and was the Bucs' No. 1 draft pick back in 2015, according to Stroud. But they stand behind both Arians and general manager Jason Licht, who's deferring to the former regarding the QB situation, Stroud added, and could conceivably offer Brady anywhere from $30 to $40 million per season in an effort to bring the six-time Super Bowl champion to Tampa.
Brady would sign with the Buccaneers, citing Tampa's abundance of cap space, the fact that both Brady and Arians figure to be in win-now mode, and the glaring disparity of offensive weapons between the Bucs and Patriots' rosters.
If Brady ultimately re-signs with New England or prefers another landing spot, per Stroud, Winston isn't necessarily the Bucs' Plan B at QB. After Brady, he reported, it's Teddy Bridgewater and then Philip Rivers, in that order. Both of those QBs have been linked to Tampa in recent weeks, with Arians previously saying he "loves" Bridgewater's style and Rivers seeming like a logical short-term fit in Florida, where he just relocated his family.