Tom Brady hung up the cleats in February, calling it a career after 22 NFL seasons. With 2022 free agency fast approaching, however, the Buccaneers aren't ruling out a comeback from the future Hall of Famer. General manager Jason Licht told NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Tuesday that Tampa Bay will "leave the light on" for Brady to return for 2022, adding that the Bucs are still weighing their options at quarterback "if that's the case that we need to move forward."
"Right now we're trying to make our plans to move forward, if that's the case ... We're still in that process right now," Licht said, later joking about whether he could convince Brady to postpone his retirement. "We'll see what the future holds. Let's just say we'll leave the light on. We always leave the light on for a guy like Tom Brady."
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Brady has remained in NFL headlines since he announced his departure. Less than a week after retiring, the seven-time Super Bowl champion left the door open for a future comeback on his own podcast. He's since clarified that he's content with his decision, although several former Buccaneers and Patriots teammates have said they expect Brady to return at some point. Just last week, The Hollywood Reporter reported Brady will play himself in an upcoming Super Bowl comedy set to begin filming this spring, marking the QB's first major post-football endeavor.
The Bucs, meanwhile, are expected to explore every avenue -- free agency, the draft, and trades -- to find a new QB. Licht spoke positively Tuesday of former third-round pick Kyle Trask, the only non-Brady signal-caller under contract with the Bucs through 2022, but acknowledged all options are on the table for the team moving forward.
"We still feel like we have a chance to win this year," Licht said. "It just depends on how the puzzle fits together. We wanna win this year, we wanna compete this year for the title, but we also wanna keep our eye on the future, too. We don't wanna mortgage too much too soon. It's just gonna depend on what the market bears."