TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have extended the contract of general manager Jason Licht, head coach Bruce Arians confirmed Sunday.

Licht signed an extension when Arians was hired back in January, but news hadn’t gotten out until early Saturday morning, after the Bucs’ 16-14 preseason win over the Miami Dolphins on Friday night.

“I’m surprised it just got out,” Arians said of the deal. “It was huge for me because I trust him, I respect him and he’s the reason I’m here.”

Licht’s contract is for four years with a fifth-year club option in 2023, directly mirroring that of Arians’, who has largely credited Licht for luring him out of retirement to coach in Tampa. Licht signed a one-year extension with the Bucs in 2019.

In Licht’s first draft in 2014, the Bucs selected wide receiver Mike Evans with the seventh overall pick. He then selected quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall draft pick in 2015. Licht also drafted starting left tackle Donovan Smith and left guard Ali Marpet, who were both rewarded with contract extensions the past two seasons, and he traded for Jason Pierre-Paul and claimed Carl Nassib off of waivers.

Licht rewarded former undrafted free agent Cam Brate with a contract extension last season. He drafted starters O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin and used the fifth overall draft pick in 2019 on Devin White. His career record in five seasons with the Bucs is 27-53.

There have also been misses for Licht, including trading back into the second round to draft kicker Roberto Aguayo in 2016 (Aguayo was waived in the preseason the very next year). His list of free-agent signings that didn’t pan out include DeSean Jackson, Chris Baker, T.J. Ward, Alterraun Verner, Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins.

While ownership hasn’t been thrilled with the team’s record under Licht and two previous head coaches (they’ve produced just one winning season in that span, going 9-7 in 2016), they have been pleased with the way their core nucleus of players has developed.

The news of Licht’s extension was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.


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