When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in Tom Brady to be the quarterback of the team, and let Jameis Winston walk, there was a surprising mix of reactions.
Some thought Brady’s best days were behind him, others just thought the franchise was throwing away potential in the much younger Winston, a former No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft.
Two seasons later, the Bucs have another Lombardi Trophy in their possession, have played three straight postseason games in Raymond James Stadium, and might be on the hunt for a new quarterback again.
It's the mentality you want from your quarterback and leader of the team. Instead of his future, his mind was on the present. Winning in the NFC Divisional Round for the right to host the NFC Championship Game next weekend.
Now though, there’s nothing standing in Brady’s way. He has to consider the future.
As do the Buccaneers themselves.
“You never know what’s behind door No.2,” said head coach Bruce Arians.
If that phrase sounds familiar, it's because that’s what Arians was saying as he and general manager Jason Licht were ramping up to pursue Brady back in 2020.
Arians also said he’s comfortable with who they have in the room, if Brady decides to call it a career.
The team selected Florida quarterback Kyle Trask in the 2021 NFL Draft. But with Arians’ focus on reloading, not rebuilding, it may still be too early to give the reins over to someone so inexperienced.
Instead, the team would likely have conversations about potential replacements like Aaron Rodgers who may want to depart from Green Bay. Or Russell Wilson, who is also at odds - reportedly - with the direction of the Seattle Seahawks.
Whatever the options, plenty of speculation will surround the position in the coming month or so.
Until then, we’ll just leave it with this...
It would appear KEEP GOING may suggest that Tom Brady could return. pic.twitter.com/HeqEhQqJiS— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) January 23, 2022