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“I Had a Lot of Sleepless Nights”: GM Jason Licht Was Exhausted With Tampa Bay’s Offseason Signings

Ayush Juneja

“I Had a Lot of Sleepless Nights”: GM Jason Licht Was Exhausted With Tampa Bay’s Offseason Signings

Running a successful football club is an all-consuming process that requires every department to work together efficiently, like a well-oiled machine. While the work continues throughout the year, the off-season is one of the toiling parts of the season for any front office. And this around-the-clock effort has left the Buccaneers’ GM, Jason Licht, drained.

During his recent appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Licht dove into his biggest challenge in the offseason; retaining the services of Baker Mayfield and a few other key players. Baker was the missing piece of the puzzle, who came into a system once led by the GOAT, Tom Brady. But the former Rams QB seamlessly filled that void and then some, leading the Buccaneers to the Divisional Round.

He accepted the challenge and proved himself by thwarting the competition and winning the team over. “We had to have him,” Licht said. They also prioritized keeping Mike Evans and Levonte David. And this hectic process led him to endure a “lot of sleepless nights.”

“This year, we had a lot of guys that we were paramount to bringing back. I really had a lot of sleepless nights. We had to have him (Baker Mayfield). We (also) had to have Mike and Lavonte back, in my opinion,” Licht said.

Licht has done a commendable job. Coming into his 11th year, he has reversed the fortunes of the struggling franchise, not only signing Brady but also bringing the Lombardy back to Tampa after two decades.

For this season, Licht and the front office focused on keeping that core together rather than bringing in new talent. They agreed on terms with Baker, Mike Evans, Lavonte David, Jordan Whitehead, Ben Bredeson, Bryce Hall, Sua Opeta, Justin Skule, and John Wolford.

They also re-signed Chase McLaughlin, Chase Edmonds, Deven Thompkins, Brandon Walton, Greg Gaines, Zach Triner, and Will Gholston. Most of their front office remains unchanged, and while there have been changes in coaching positions, most of the personnel were already with the club. The only major change is the new OC, as they replaced Dave Canales with Liam Coen.

However, despite keeping the core intact and bringing in the best new talent through the draft, the franchise isn’t favored to win the NFC South in the eyes of outside observers.

GM Jason Licht Calls Out NFL World For Lack of Respect

During the 2023 season, Tampa Bay made it to the Divisional Round, defeating the Eagles in the process and winning the NFC South division. Though the club has retained most of that squad, several pundits still favor the Falcons to clinch the division in 2024, and Jason Licht feels it is disrespectful towards them that the NFL world is counting them out.

Jason, however, asserted that they are used to being treated as underdogs and taken for granted. The lack of respect isn’t something new. Players like Lavonte David and Mike Evans have had Hall of Fame careers, yet they do not get the recognition and praise they deserve. They have a QB with a lot to prove and have been labeled as a bust. Licht is still excited and will use this as motivation to prove everyone wrong.

“We are kind of used to it. I sometimes feel like down here in Tampa we’re in witness protection,” Licht remarked. “There is just kind of a lack of respect for Lavonte David, a Hall of Fame type of player. He doesn’t get enough credit. Mike Evans just recently started getting that. We’re used to it, but we kind of use it as ammo. It’s embedded in the DNA of this team. We have a QB who has got a huge chip on his shoulder. I’m excited. When I see somebody dissing us and saying we’re not gonna win, I love keeping receipts. It’s been driving us.”

In the post-Brady era, the Patriots also showed a bit of flair before falling into decline. Thus, it will be interesting to see what the Buccaneers manage to cook up this season.

Post Edited By:Samnur Reza

About the author

Ayush Juneja

Ayush Juneja


Ayush Juneja is an NFL Journalist at the SportsRush. New to Gridiron, he has been following the sport for past 9 months and has authored over 400 articles so far. As a sports enthusiast and a true adrenaline junkie, he finds the physical side of sports to be more thrilling and engaging. A big fan of Liverpool F.C., he now roots for another red team in San Francisco 49ers and would love to see a match at Levi's Stadium and Michigan Stadium. American culture and politics fascinates him and would love to experience it first hand.

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