There was no shortage of rumors swirling about Tom Brady’s crown as he entered NFL free agency for the first time in 20 years. The “will he, won’t he” headlines were at absolute fever pitch from the moment the New England Patriots felt the sting of playoff upset at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, and several teams then emerged as likely landing spots for the six-time Super Bowl winner. In the end, it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who wooed him away, but did Brady truly have two non-negotiable demands — control over the roster and being part of play-calling decisions — for any club attempting to sign him?
It’s now been revealed Brady never demanded the Buccaneers give him control in any way over the roster, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, mostly because it’s a given head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht would work with him to build the team that best fits his style of play.
So what exactly did Brady ask for?
Having seemingly more power than virtually anyone in the history of NFL free agency and teams willing to bend and allow him to have his way, Brady wanted only the phone numbers of every player on the roster. That’s it. Nothing more. Well, that and a seventh Super Bowl win, but the Bucs are working on making that one happen as well.
Not only did Brady forego the heavy-handed approach of demanding roster control, but he reportedly didn’t even make a fuss about wearing No. 12, the only number he’s ever worn in his professional career — one also tied to his “TB12” brand. That number currently belongs to Chris Godwin — himself having worn the number since his days at Penn State — and he hasn’t spoken to Brady just yet about what will happen.
“My phone is blowing up over the last 24 hours on Twitter, Instagram, like phone calls, text messages,” Godwin said, via SI.com. “People just asking me the same question. I think it will be very interesting whatever happens. We haven’t talked about it.
“We talked briefly, but hadn’t mentioned that at all. Obviously, if he doesn’t want it or isn’t making a big deal about it, I’m definitely going to keep it. But we’ll see how that goes. I think just out of respect for what he’s done, what he’s accomplished, just kind of the career he’s built for himself.
“You’ve got to kind of lean into that respect, you know?. We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.”
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