Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
TAMPA, Fla. — Jason Licht has been hired as the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced Tuesday.
Licht will sign a four-year contract with a team option that puts his deal in line with new coach Lovie Smith, according to league sources.
“We are excited to welcome Jason Licht as the new general manager of the Buccaneers,” team co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. “Jason is a seasoned NFL personnel veteran who has worked with some of the most accomplished individuals in professional football while contributing to success in New England, Philadelphia and Arizona. His strong player personnel background provides the ideal complement to Lovie Smith’s philosophy as our head coach. We look forward to working with Jason and Lovie as we set the foundation and chart the course for the future of Buccaneers football.”
Licht is replacing Mark Dominik, who was fired after the Buccaneers went 4-12 this season.
Licht, 42, spent the last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He carried the title of director of player personnel in 2012 before being promoted to vice president of player personnel in ’13. Licht previously worked for the Dolphins, Panthers, Patriots and Eagles.
“Jason did a tremendous job in two different stints with the Cardinals and we knew it was only a matter of time before he would become a GM,” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “We know that he will do a great job in Tampa. At the same time, [Cardinals GM] Steve [Keim] has developed a very deep bench in our personnel department to prepare for this event and will continue to make that area a strength of the organization.”
In Tampa Bay, Licht will not have final say over the 53-man roster. Smith had a final-say clause written into his contract, but he has said he looks forward to working closely with the new general manager.
The news of Licht’s hiring was earlier reported by Fox Sports.
The Bucs have only had one winning season last making the playoffs. However, the roster is not devoid of talent.
After years doing little to upgrade the roster through in free agency, ownership spent generously the past two offseasons while bringing in players such as cornerback Darrelle Revis, safety Dashon Goldson, receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive lineman Carl Nicks.
The first major decision Licht and Smith face personnel-wise figures to be determining if Mike Glennon is the team’s quarterback of the future.
A third-round draft pick in 2013, Glennon started the final 13 games as rookie, going 4-9 and hardly proving he’s the answer to the team’s struggles.
The Bucs, who have the seventh pick in this spring’s draft, finished last in the league in passing and total offense.
Smith is a defensive-minded coach who plans to bring back a version of the Tampa 2 system that the Bucs popularized during a successful run under Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.
- Previously covered NFC South for ESPN.com
- Covered Panthers for The Charlotte Observer from 1999-2008
- Began journalism career with The Tampa Tribune in 1990