Report: Bucs Want Tom Brady to Return; Could Explore Deshaun Watson, Russell WilsonFebruary 13, 2022
Tom Brady only announced his retirement from the NFL on February 1, but many people seem to believe there is at least a chance that the three-time MVP could play again.
Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are keeping open the door for Brady if he changes his mind and "would do whatever is necessary for him to return."
Pelissero and Rapoport also noted the Bucs are prepared to focus on trading for veteran quarterback options, including Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, if Brady stays retired.
Brady issued a statement on his official Instagram page to announce his retirement after 22 seasons in the NFL.
It didn't take long after the announcement for people, including Brady, to speculate on the possibility he could change his mind.
On Tuesday's episode of his Let's Go! podcast (h/t NFL.com's Grant Gordon), Brady said "you never say never" about anything when asked whether he could play again.
"At the same time I know that I'm very, I feel very good about my decision. I don't know how I'll feel six months from now," he added.
Brady, who will turn 45 on Aug. 3, showed no signs of decline during the 2021 season. He finished second in NFL MVP voting after throwing for a league-best 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns.
As for potential Brady replacements if he stays retired, Pelissero and Rapaport said that the Seattle Seahawks haven't given any indication they are going to trade Wilson.
Speaking to SB Nation's Rob Guerrera on Friday (h/t CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin), Wilson said he's "focused on where I'm at right now" when asked about trade possibilities.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in January 2021 that Watson requested a trade from the Houston Texans.
Watson is embroiled in a legal battle over 22 civil lawsuits that have been filed against him over allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. He was inactive for all 17 games during the 2021 season amid his trade demand and ongoing legal situation.
The NFL has been investigating the allegations against Watson since they became public in March 2021. He could be subject to league discipline under the personal conduct policy once the investigation is complete.
Pelissero and Rapaport noted the Texans are looking to get a Watson trade done before the start of the new league year March 16.
Without Brady on the roster, Kyle Trask is the only quarterback under contract to the Bucs in 2022. Blaine Gabbert was Tampa Bay's primary backup this season, but he is set to become an unrestricted free agent.