Tom Brady, Bruce Arians Played 'Huge Role' in Bucs Retaining Free Agents, Per GM

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2021

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2021, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, left, speaks with quarterback Tom Brady before the team's NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans. Both Andy Reid and Arians are considered players’ coaches, though they do it in different ways. It's a quality that’s helped them reach the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Brett Duke, File)
Brett Duke/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians didn't take it easy this offseason following the franchise's Super Bowl LV triumph.

General manager Jason Licht said Monday on The Rich Eisen Show that Brady indicated he'd "help you and Bruce out as much as I can" with Tampa Bay's offseason business.

Rich Eisen @richeisen

With the hot topic of the day perhaps being @packers inability to keep @AaronRodgers12 happy with roster makeup or say in it, I asked @Buccaneers GM Jason Licht to take us inside how his relationship works with @tombrady and he obliged: https://t.co/XpXIk6GLtv

Licht said Brady and Arians "obviously played a huge role" as Buccaneers free agents chose to re-sign (via ProFootballTalk's Myles Simmons):

"I think we were all pretty much on the same page — Bruce, myself, [Brady] — that we wanted to bring back as many as we could. I don't know what conversations he had with our players, to be honest with you. I just knew at the beginning of free agency, I said, 'Hey, I'm going to do my best to get everybody back.' And that was really the last we talked about it."

In a league with a hard salary cap, keeping a title-winning roster intact can be difficult. The Buccaneers made the finances work this offseason, however, as Chris Godwin, Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette all came back.

Brady made things simpler when he agreed to a four-year extension that voids after the 2022 season. Per ESPN's Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay freed up $19 million in salary-cap space with the move.

Sacrificing some cash is easier when you've earned $263.5 million over your career. At 43, Brady is also well aware he can't afford to spend the season on a team that's retooling if he wants to collect an eighth Super Bowl ring.

Tampa Bay sits atop B/R's NFL power rankings, and the road to a second straight NFC crown could clear up depending on how Aaron Rodgers' standoff with the Green Bay Packers ends.

A team hasn't repeated as Super Bowl champions since the 2004 season when the New England Patriots went back-to-back. The 2014 Seattle Seahawks and 2017 Patriots fell short at the final hurdle, and the latter missed the chance to get three in a row, winning championships in 2016 and 2018.

Being the last team standing again isn't a fait accompli for the Bucs, but nobody is better positioned to win it all in 2021.