TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday that despite reports that quarterback Tom Brady was prepared to be named a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins and possibly play for them before coming out of retirement, he and the seven-time Super Bowl winner have had no discussions about that, nor have they discussed sealing Brady for the future with a new contract.
"No, we haven't had those discussions," said Licht, who has known Brady since 2002, when Licht was the New England Patriots' assistant director of player personnel. "The only discussions I've had, we've had, with Tom has been, he came back and we're excited about this year and we're excited to get going."
Citing a league source, The Boston Globe reported that Brady was positioned to join the Dolphins' front office in a capacity similar to Derek Jeter's role with the Miami Marlins. Pro Football Talk reported that the Dolphins were prepared to announce Brady as a minority owner the week before the Super Bowl.
The Globe reported that Brian Flores' lawsuit, which alleges racial discrimination by the Dolphins along with owner Stephen Ross attempting to lose games intentionally and tamper with a unnamed "star" quarterback under contract with another team, killed those dreams, according to the source.
But Brady is under contract with the Bucs for one more season, so they would have held onto his rights had he pursued a position with the Dolphins.
Coach Bruce Arians, who stepped down last month to take a post in the Bucs' front office, with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles becoming the new head coach, said at the NFL combine that the Bucs would not accommodate Brady or another team should he choose to leave.
"Nope. Bad business," Arians said, before adding that it would require more than a king's ransom for a team to snatch Brady away. "Five No. 1s. Maybe," Arians said.
Shortly after Arians made those comments, Brady went on a visit to Manchester United, also owned by the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers. He announced his return to the Bucs and began actively recruiting players to come to Tampa Bay, including former Patriots teammate Logan Ryan and former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage.
Brady has not committed to playing beyond 2022 and would become an unrestricted free agent after this season if he opts to continue playing, meaning he'd be able to sign with any team at that point.
What does Licht make of all the chatter linking Brady to the Dolphins along with reports that Sean Payton was being lured out of retirement to join forces with the 44-year-old quarterback down south?
"I make of it -- chatter, just like you said," Licht said. "We're focused on putting our team together here with the draft, and we're all excited, we're all in lockstep here -- Tom, Todd [Bowles], myself, Byron [Leftwich], the entire coaching staff -- on this season."
Payton, speaking to reporters Tuesday following a charity event at the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic, said, "I have no clue about the Tampa Bay/Miami Dolphin/Tom Brady rumor."
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier told reporters at the combine that Miami requested permission to interview Payton, but the Saints denied the request.
"My understanding is that there was a request put in or that intermediaries talked," Payton said. "I'm getting ready to do TV. I wasn't coaching. ... If I'd have been ready to coach this year, I would have stayed in New Orleans. It's nice to have someone interested. ... Look, our focus on Tom Brady has been on beating him, not joining him."
Arians' new role with the Bucs still has not been carved out, but he has been participating in the team's draft meetings and will be present with Licht and Bowles in the draft war room. Arians plans to remain in Tampa, and his new role will likely be a full-time one this first year.
Licht said the coaching change seamlessly moves Bowles into a larger role, with the team benefiting from a defensive coach's perspective of offensive players.
"The philosophy hasn't changed," Licht said. "It's just been meeting more with Todd more now as the head coach -- more one-on-one and in some group settings too. Bruce has still been involved. He's still been in our meetings. I meet with Bruce periodically, and he's going to be involved here as we put the final touches on our draft too. Our philosophy hasn't changed. We still want to bring in really good players."
ESPN's Mike Triplett contributed to this report.