Then, about one week before the start of the new league year, a report surfaced the Bucs were "going all in" to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion. That turned out to be true, as Tampa Bay inked Brady to a two-year contract worth $50 million guaranteed, effectively ending his 20-year New England Patriots tenure.
Apparently, signing Brady didn't require the amount of effort the Buccaneers originally thought it would take.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times shed some light on what went down during Brady's free agency meeting with the Bucs, and it sure seems that getting the 42-year-old quarterback to put pen to paper didn't take much convincing.
Here's what Stroud wrote about Brady's meeting with Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht.
The conversation lasted about 90 minutes. Brady did a lot of the talking. In fact, the Bucs had gone in with a detailed plan and under the firm belief that they would have to make an aggressive sales pitch to have any chance of landing the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Instead, Brady interviewed Licht and Arians as much as they asked questions of him.
His preparation, as usual, was next level. He knew all about Arians' offense and was eager to operate it. He could recite, by position, the list of the Bucs' offensive weapons. He was intrigued by the notion of having two Pro Bowl receivers, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. He didn't ask about them as players. He wanted to know, "Are they good guys?''
Brady, according to Stroud, approached his meeting with the Buccaneers exactly how one would expect. His focus was solely on winning, and that giant chip on his shoulder is still there even after so many years of success.
It felt like Brady was recruiting the Bucs, and the 42-year-old spoke with a teenager's enthusiasm.
He spoke a lot about winning, and it was obvious to Licht and Arians that Brady's competitiveness burns white hot, and the three-time league MVP still thinks he has something to prove. Maybe to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Maybe just to himself.
The Bucs appeared to check all the boxes. When they hung up the phone, Licht and Arians looked at each other incredulously, as if to say, 'Wow, this is really happening.'"
And the rest is history. Brady made his signing official with an Instagram post expressing his excitement about the change of scenery. The Buccaneers posted a hype video featuring their new QB shortly thereafter.
Whether Brady's newfound enthusiasm with the Bucs will last remains to be seen. He has plenty to be excited about, as he'll much more firepower on offense with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as his primary weapons, but Tampa Bay hasn't exactly been a model franchise in recent years.
Of course, if anyone can change that, it's TB12 himself. And judging by his meeting with the Bucs, he appears ready for the challenge.
Details from Tom Brady's free agency meeting with Buccaneers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston