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Tom Brady Rumors: Bucs Believe ‘They’re Still in It’ to Retain QB amid Raiders Buzz

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 22, 2023

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 16: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass during the second quarter of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Despite speculation Tom Brady has played his last snap with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team reportedly believes it can re-sign the pending free agent.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler provided the latest Sunday on SportsCenter:

“The Bucs believe that they’re still in it. They’re going to try. They believe, ‘Hey, for the last three years we’ve created an environment for you to be successful.’ New offensive coordinator coming in, maybe that will sell him a little bit. But you heard him in his words the other night, it sounded like he was saying farewell in his press conference. So, we’ll see where that goes. First, he has to decide if he wants to play; that should come in the next week, weeks or months.”

Brady retired last offseason before announcing 40 days later that he would come back for another year with Tampa Bay. The team struggled throughout the year and finished 8-9 before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network previously reported the Buccaneers “very much want him back,” although he’ll also have interest from the Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans.

Despite the obvious interest from the front office, multiple Buccaneers players don’t expect Brady to return in 2023.

“I’d be surprised if he’s back,” one player told Rapoport.

“He sounded like a person saying goodbye for good,” another added.

Tampa Bay fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after the team ranked 25th in points scored this season, but it might still be difficult to persuade Brady to stay.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the quarterback is expected to play for a “winning franchise” if he does return for his 24th NFL season.

After a disappointing 2022 season, the Bucs would likely need to improve in several areas in order to convince Brady to stay.

Perhaps the most important factor could be the offensive line, which lost several key players before the season. Ali Marpet retired, Alex Cappa signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency, and Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen suffered a knee injury in training camp and missed the entire regular season.

Until that unit is solidified, it will be tough to convince the 45-year-old Brady to return.

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