The race to get NFL broadcasters has never been hotter, and it’s led to some unprecedented scenarios being thrown around. With FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN and now Amazon all trying to secure broadcast teams, all with the promise of huge money, there’s the potential we could see current NFL staff members leaving the league.
Troy Aikman is the first domino in all this. The FOX broadcaster is on the verge of leaving the network, which he’s been with since 2001, to join ESPN and Monday Night Football. It’s a deal reportedly being north of the $17.5M per-year deal that Tony Romo has with CBS. This means Aikman could be making over $100M on this five year deal — an eye-popping number for other prospective announcers.
There are also reports Aikman could try and lure long-time broadcast partner Joe Buck to join him at ESPN, with the duo becoming the new announce team on Monday Night Football. This is a case of a major shake up happening, and there’s no telling who moves where.
With FOX now looking to fill its booth, and Amazon entering the fray, the names being thrown around are mind boggling. First there’s Sean Payton, who was always going to be a part of this conversation after he resigned from the Saints in January, but it’s others who could truly shake up the NFL.
Amazon is reportedly seeing whether they can lure away Super Bowl winning coach Sean McVay. The Rams coach has been resolute that he plans to return to the sidelines next season — but it’s a question of whether there’s a number that can convince him to the leave the NFL. McVay is already one of the NFLs highest paid coaches, making $8.5M a year, but that’s chump change to Amazon if they’re looking to make a splash. In a world where Romo and Aikman are making over double that, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a marquee contract for McVay could be upwards of $15M a year, without the stress of being an NFL head coach.
There are also reports Amazon could try to sign Al Michaels away from NBC’s Sunday Night Football, trying to up the stakes of their Thursday Night Football broadcast. It could make for one of the premier announce teams in football (assuming they could lure away a name like McVay, or potentially even Tom Brady, who has been rumored).
Meanwhile for FOX, they’re looking to fill Aikman’s spot — and while names like Drew Brees and Payton have been floated there too, there’s also a rumor FOX could be aiming to hire 49ers GM John Lynch. Lynch started a broadcast career with FOX in 2008 after his retirement from the NFL, before leaving to take over the 49ers.
It’s another move that seems ridiculous at first glance, the idea a current NFL GM would leave the league — but once again, the money being discussed is exceeding anything an NFL owner would want to pay.
We’re seeing a move from broadcasters not just to target ex-players in retirement, but now broaching the topic of getting football figures currently involved in the league. It’s a move NFL teams really aren’t prepared for. Famously tight-pursed owners are not equipped to get into bidding wars over their employees with the likes of FOX, and especially not with Amazon. There is no doubt this could be a development that shakes up the NFL as a whole, and it remains to be seen if a huge name like McVay could be lured away to the broadcast booth.