Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 to win the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Tom Brady is back in Tampa Bay

After a measly 40 days in retirement, Tom Brady will return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd NFL season. The quarterback announced his return Sunday night, just hours before the NFL’s Legal Tampering period.

Rumors swirled that Brady could return to the NFL, but not to the Bucs. Tampa continued to monitor the situation, leaving the door open for Brady’s return. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington credits Jason Licht, the Bucs general manager, for his approach to the situation.

During the NFL Combine, head coach Bruce Arians insisted he left an option for the greatest quarterback of all time to come back to Tampa Bay. “Whenever Tom wants to come back, he’s back. … If Tom wants to come back, we’ll have plenty of money for him.”

The former Patriot will have plenty of money indeed, but reports say he is willing to reach a restructured deal with the Bucs to free up cap space.

Brady has gas left in the tank

Hall of Fame quarterback and former Buc Steve Young says Brady will know when his time is up, but that time is not here just yet.

On the field, he still has a deadly deep ball and has the velocity to make any throw the Bucs ask him to. Arians and offensive coordinator Bryon Leftwich love to throw the ball deep, creating cohesion between player and coach. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin catching passes, Brady’s life is much easier.

In 2020, he recorded 5,694 passing yards and accumulated 50 touchdowns throughout 21 games on his way to a Lombardi trophy.

In 2021, Brady led the league in passing yards with 5,316 yards and added 43 touchdowns to his stat line.

With Brady at the helm, Tampa is 29-10.

Despite his old age, the 44-year-old continues to dominate on the gridiron. Brady will turn 45 in August.

What is next for Tampa?

With Brady now back in the fold, the Bucs are actively looking to retain many of its free agents.

Hours after the quarterback’s announcement to return, the Buccaneers re-signed center Ryan Jensen to a three-year, $39 million contract.

The Buccaneers will look into another guard, as Alex Cappa agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals shortly after the tampering period began. Cappa’s backup, Aaron Stinnie, was re-signed by the Bucs last weekend.

Other Bucs free agents include tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette, cornerback Carlton Davis, safety Jordan Whitehead and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

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