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Patriots

Tom Brady was aggressive in selling himself to Tampa Bay, GM Jason Licht says

The Tampa Bay brass was surprised they didn't have to put a full-court press on Tom Brady when it came to free agency.
The Tampa Bay brass was surprised they didn't have to put a full-court press on Tom Brady when it came to free agency.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

When it came to making a free agent recruiting pitch, it wasn’t the Buccaneers who were trying to convince Tom Brady to join their franchise. Instead, it was Brady who was trying to persuade the Tampa Bay brass to take a chance on him.

That’s according to Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, who told ESPN Monday the quarterback flipped the script at the start of free agency and was the one engaging in the sales pitch, explaining to Licht and Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians why he should join the Buccaneers.

“We had a great conversation — Bruce and I — we talked to him for over an hour and a half. And he made it clear in the conversation that he was very, very interested,” Licht said of the phone call, which took place on March 18, the first day of free agency.

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“It was almost like a recruitment on his part, telling us why it would make sense for him to come to Tampa Bay. The next call we made, we signed him. But it was at that phone call that we realized that we felt like we had him.”

Licht added that he believes Brady will be an ideal fit in Arians’s offense, one that’s considered aggressive when it comes to downfield throwing.

Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht was surprised by Tom Brady's sales pitch.
Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht was surprised by Tom Brady's sales pitch.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

“The tape showed to us that he had plenty of arm," said Licht. "In fact, we thought that he had an ideal arm for Bruce in his system. [Brady] can still throw it deep. We felt like the mobility was still the same as he’s always had, which, he’s never been able to outrun anybody.

"But he certainly is good in the pocket in terms of eluding pressure and with his poise and his instincts. We did not see a decline in his arm talent whatsoever. And, in fact, we feel like he could still play for over two years for us, and hopefully that’s the case.”

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Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.