Bucs Coach: TB Scouted Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Dalton Before Tom Brady's Deal

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 27:   A helmet of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rests on the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers shockingly signed longtime New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady this offseason, but he isn't the only signal-caller the Bucs considered.

In an interview with The Athletic's Bob Kravitz, Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen divulged some of the quarterbacks the team weighed signing or trading for: "I looked at every pass [Brady] threw for the last four years. It was interesting because you had the possibility of [Drew] Brees, [Philip] Rivers, [Andy] Dalton, all those guys had a chance of becoming available, so we looked at all of them."

Brees re-signed with the New Orleans Saints, Rivers left the Los Angeles Chargers to sign with the Indianapolis Colts, and Dalton signed with the Dallas Cowboys after getting released by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Brady spent the first 20 years of his career with the Pats, and during that time he became arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP and one-time NFL MVP.

The 42-year-old veteran is also second in NFL history in career passing yardage and passing touchdowns, behind only Brees in both categories.

While Brady has looked otherworldly at most times throughout his career, he looked human for much of last season. Much of New England's success was due to its defense, and Brady finished with somewhat pedestrian numbers by his standards, throwing for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Also, Brady's tenure with the Patriots ended in disappointment, as they were shockingly upset at home by the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Brady's down year has caused many to question if he has fallen off physically, but Christensen has no doubt that TB12 can still get the job done:

"I'm telling you, anybody who says he's lost arm strength, all I know is I must have missed something. Remember, they didn't have those kinds of receivers [in New England] who could get deep. It wasn't about anything that he couldn't do. I thought he played last year at a high, high, high level, still light's out. He comes here, we've got the two outside receivers [Chris Godwin and Mike Evans], you think back to what Peyton [Manning] had in Denver and he goes out there and sets the NFL record for touchdown passes and reaches two Super Bowls, wins one. I think that's very attractive to Tom. Peyton had fun at his second stop. He was able to turn that place around. I think Tom's excited about what he can do with those two cats [Godwin and Evans]."

Brady was undoubtedly lacking in terms of big-play weapons with the Patriots last season, as he primarily had to rely on slot receiver Julian Edelman and running back James White rather than chucking the ball down the field.

In Tampa, Brady can go deep to Evans, use Godwin as a security blanket and have trust in tight end Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to reunite with him as members of the Bucs.

Brady has all the tools needed to succeed, and it is clear that Christensen and head coach Bruce Arians simply felt Brady needed more around him in order to return to form.

The Bucs had no shortage of quarterback options, including keeping Jameis Winston, but given Brady's remarkable resume, he likely gives them the best chance to compete for a Super Bowl, which is something the Buccaneers haven't done in nearly two decades.