The greatest quarterback in NFL history just retired, again. This time the retirement is permanent.
With Todd Bowles coming off a difficult introductory season as Tampa Bay’s head coach and the Buccaneers’ long list of pending free agents, this offseason will be the first time since Tom Brady’s arrival in 2020 where the pressure in the organization shifts off of Tampa Bay’s quarterback and returns to the shoulders of Bucs GM Jason Licht.
Jason Licht has been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ GM since 2014. He has had some euphoric highs mixed in with some muddling lows. Igniting his Bucs career off with a bang, he spent his first-ever draft pick on wide receiver Mike Evans. Evans, of course, totaled a 1,000-yard season in his rookie campaign and every year since as he has gone on to become one of best individual players in Buccaneers history.
Jason Licht has also earned and dealt with his share of criticism during his Tampa Bay tenure with some questionable draft picks out in front leading the way. While he was a Buccaneer, Tom Brady was capable of covering up a lot of flaws and mistakes made by others. That cover up is now gone, and if the Buccaneers don’t make the proper moves this offseason the holes that have gone unnoticed in the past three seasons will quickly be exposed.
Everything changed for the Buccaneers in the 2020 offseason. The entire culture of the franchise was altered immediately upon Tom Brady’s arrival. For the first time in Tampa Bay’s history, the team had found a man who could line up under center to lead the Buccaneers where they wanted to go and as a result as long as Tom Brady was a Buccaneer Jason Licht was a made man. All the pressure of the team’s failures and rewards of their successes would be dumped on the shoulders or at the feet of Brady, allowing Licht to drift into obscurity— escaping potential criticism and remaining much more under the radar.
Now, Tom Brady is gone. The Buccaneers lost their Hall of Fame quarterback. They don’t necessarily have a clear-cut succession on their roster lined up to replace him and they are facing the reality of having to make a multitude of decisions in the coming months. This offseason is a critical one for the Buccaneers’ front office and specifically Jason Licht. Licht will have to navigate dangerous waters for a GM in today’s NFL landscape. He is, once again, a GM who is tasked with having to decide what to do at the quarterback position for his team moving forward.
2023 represents a seismic shift of pressure inside the Bucs organization. The pressure has officially left Tom Brady’s plate and been placed on the shoulders of Jason Licht.