While head coach Bruce Arians got the Tampa Bay Buccaneers players back to work for a week, he received a pay bump for last season’s success but alluded to not needing it.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, according to sources, reported that the Bucs recently worked out deals for both Arians and general manager Jason Licht. Arians and the Bucs agreed to a “revised contract” and raise while the Bucs gave Licht a new contract per Rapoport.
“It means the world,” Arians said in a press conference on Tuesday. “They rewarded us for doing a good job and it wasn’t necessary but they wanted to do it.”
“I was really happy to see Jason’s extension. He very well earned it,” Arians added.
Arians, 68, came to Tampa in 2019, coming out of retirement, and coached the Bucs to a 7-9 record. He worked to get superstar quarterback Tom Brady to join the team as a free agent in 2020, which led to the Bucs bolstering the offense overnight. Arians led the Bucs to an 11-5 mark in 2020 followed by three road playoff wins and a Super Bowl LV victory.
Licht joined the Bucs as the general manager in 2014 and quietly built a Super Bowl-caliber defense while the franchise remained mired in a 13-year playoff drought. He also drafted key players on the offensive end during his first five years, which helped Brady have a career year in his first season with the Bucs.
It didn’t stop there for Licht as he orchestrated returning all 22 starters from the Bucs Super Bowl team, something that hadn’t been done since the 1979 Oakland Raiders. Licht and company pulled it off despite having more than 20 free agents to re-sign.
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Arians’ Journey Coaching a Super Bowl Winner
Arians jumped into coaching after playing quarterback at Virginia Tech in the 1970s, beginning with a graduate assistant role for the Hokies from 1975 to 1977.
The Paterson, New Jersey, native took on position coach roles at Mississippi State and Alabama between 1978 and 1982 before landing his first head coaching job at Temple in 1983. Arians had some success with the Owls before bouncing back and forth between NFL and college assistant coach roles between 1989 and 1998.
Ironically, his first NFL gig came with the Kansas City Chiefs, the team his Bucs beat in the Super Bowl 30 years later. Arians started moving up the NFL coaching ladder in the late 1990s and 2000s, mainly with the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers in assistant roles.
Arians first NFL head coach opportunity came as interim head coach in 2012 with the Colts. He went on to coach the Arizona Cardinals from 2013 to 2017 before retiring due to health issues.
While Arians won a couple of Super Bowls as an assistant with the Steelers in 2006 and 2011, the big prize as a head coach eluded him in the desert. That all changed when he came to Tampa.
Licht Witnessed Brady’s Growth Before Bucs Tenure
Licht once knew Brady as an underrated quarterback out of Michigan in 2000.
That’s when Licht served as a college scout for the New England Patriots from 1999 to 2000, the year the Patriots drafted Brady in the sixth round. Licht and Brady continued to cross paths from 2001 to 2002 and again in 2009 to 2011. The Nebraska native served in scouting and player personnel roles during his time in New England.
He saw Brady take over for Patriots Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Bledsoe after an injury in 2001 and lead the Patriots to the first of six Super Bowl wins. Licht then saw Brady in regular season MVP form in 2010 and leading the Patriots back to the Super Bowl after a four-year hiatus.