INDIANAPOLIS -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking ahead to a future without Tom Brady, and they will make sure the 49ers and every other NFL team are in the same boat.
While addressing the media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Bucs coach Bruce Arians was adamant that the future Hall of Fame quarterback will not play for any other team than Tampa Bay if he decides to return to the game.
Brady announced his retirement at the beginning of February, but there has been some speculation that the All-Pro might not be able to resist the urge to return to the field.
“No,” Arians said when asked if he would allow Brady to play for another team. “Bad business.”
When asked a follow-up question about a team making an offer for Brady that couldn’t be refused, a smile crept across Arians’ face.
“Five No. 1 [picks]?” Arians said. “Maybe. We will play golf. If I beat him, he has to come back.”
Rumors have swirled about Brady, a Bay Area native, making one last hurrah in San Francisco to punctuate his career. Although he recently retired, Brady said "never say never" shortly thereafter about a potential return, leading some to speculate he'd come home to try to win his record eighth Super Bowl with the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers
Arians noted that very few veteran quarterbacks will enter free agency this year, and one of them, Blaine Gabbert, currently is on the Bucs' roster. Arians said he's comfortable moving forward with the former 49ers quarterback and Kyle Trask, whom the Bucs picked in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Gabbert, who spent three seasons with the 49ers, is very familiar with Arians’ system, having played for the coach for one year in Arizona and an additional two seasons in Tampa Bay. Gabbert’s experience in the system makes him a valuable free-agent target for the team.
The Bucs might be a favorable landing spot for current 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but Arians couldn't comment on him while he's still on San Francisco's roster. Could a trade be procured? Maybe, but the coach didn't appear very positive about that becoming a reality.
“You don’t trade by yourself,” Arians said. “You got to have a partner, so that could be out of the question.”
Meanwhile, Arians and the Bucs would welcome Brady back with open arms if he had a change of heart about his retirement.
“That door is never closed,” Arians said. “Whenever Tom wants back, he’s back. You just go on because if Tom comes back, we will have plenty of money for him.”
Given Arians' comments and without any 2022 first-round picks to trade, it seems likely the 49ers wouldn't have enough to acquire Brady even if the legendary QB wanted to lace up his cleats for another team for one last hurrah.