The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally have their new general manager and it is Jason Licht, director of player personnel for the Arizona Cardinals. The news was first reported by Jay Glazer of FOX Sports Tuesday afternoon and later confirmed by the Buccaneers.
“We are excited to welcome Jason Licht as the new general manager of the Buccaneers. 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,” said Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement.
Licht, 42, becomes the fifth general manager in team history. He has never held a general manager position before, nor has he worked with Smith. The two did cross paths, however, when Licht was a finalist for the GM position in Chicago in 2012, a job that ultimately went to Phil Emery, who later fired Smith.
Licht does have a history with Bucs senior personnel advisor Scott Cohen. The two worked together in Philadelphia from 2003-2007, helping the Eagles to three NFC titles and a trip to Super Bowl XXXIX.
Licht also had two stints in New England, the first from 1999-2002, serving as a scout and assistant director of player personnel under Bill Belichick and helping the Patriots to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVI. He also assisted in scouting core players Tom Brady, Damien Woody, Kevin Faulk, Richard Seymour, Matt Light and Deion Branch.
He later served as the director of pro personnel from 2009-2011, his second stint, helping the Patriots to three AFC East titles and a Super Bowl berth in 2011.
Licht also had two stints in Arizona — his first in 2008, serving as a personnel executive when the Cardinals won the NFC West and reached the Super Bowl and his second in 2012, where he became director of player personnel. The following year, in 2013, he was promoted to vice president of player personnel.
His deal with the Bucs is reportedly a four-year deal with a fifth-year option, the same as Smith.
Last week, a Bucs source had told Sports Talk Florida that two favorites were believed to be Atlanta’s Lionel Vital and Marc Ross of the New York Giants. They, along with Licht and Titans’ VP of player personnel Lake Dawson, received multiple interviews with the team.
On Monday, Vital, whom many believed was the frontrunner, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he was staying put with the Falcons.