INDIANAPOLIS — Bruce Arians is a straight shooter. So when he was asked Tuesday about the possibility of about Tom Brady becoming the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback this offseason, Arians shot straight.
Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Bucs head coach acknowledged the 42-year-old Brady — who’s set to hit free agency when the new league year opens March 18 — would be a QB worth pursuing he becomes available.
Bruce Arians says that Tom Brady is a guy that would make him pick up the phone and reach out if he was made available.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) February 25, 2020
Asked for examples of NFL quarterbacks he'd pick up the phone for in free agency, Bruce Arians said "Tom Brady. Philip (Rivers) is another guy. We'll see."
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Tampa Bay has a glaring question mark at quarterback this offseason with Jameis Winston, its wildly erratic sixth-year signal-caller, headed for free agency. Winston threw for 30 touchdowns and more than 5,000 yards this season but also tossed 30 interceptions, becoming the first player in NFL history to join the 30-30 club.
Arians, who guided the Bucs to a 7-9 record in his first year in charge, later said on NFL Network he has a plan for his team’s future at quarterback, but that he has not informed Winston. Teams are not permitted to negotiate with impending free agents until the league’s tampering period begins March 16.
#Bucs coach Bruce Arians says on @nflnetwork that he knows what he?s doing at the QB position. Jameis Winston doesn?t know, but the team does. Arians said the team is doing due diligence on Door No. 2. ?We can win with Jameis, I know that,? Arians says.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 25, 2020
It’s unclear whether Brady would have any interest in playing in Tampa, but the Bucs do boast two of the NFL’s premier wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and enough salary cap space (nearly $80 million, per Over The Cap) to make the six-time Super Bowl champ a competitive offer.
Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel also left the door open for potential Brady pursuits should the QB hit the open market. Brady re-signing with the Patriots before free agency also remains a possibility.