When ESPN poached Joe Buck and Troy Aikman from Fox this offseason to finally give them a high-profile Monday Night Football booth, it appeared Fox might be the odd man out in the NFL analyst arms race. Tony Romo had recently re-upped with CBS on a monster 10-year, $180 million deal, Aikman got the same annual money (on five years instead of 10) with ESPN, and for better or worse, NBC had locked in Drew Brees after his retirement.
With Peyton Manning locked in to his ESPN deal to do the Manningcast 10 times a year with brother Eli, there didn’t appear to be a lot big fish left to catch (with Sean Payton getting some buzz but nothing coming of it), particularly with Tom Brady headed back to Tampa for at least one more season. However, while moving forward this year with Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen as the lead booth, Fox wasn’t willing to give up that easily on landing a splashy name, and on Tuesday announced that Brady would be joining their crew as the lead analyst whenever he really did retire for good.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 10, 2022
It’s huge news for a few reasons, one that they got Brady to do what Manning wouldn’t, which is commit to being on the road every week during the season. Part of why Manning remained the white whale of the NFL TV business is that he didn’t want that much commitment to the grind, and many wondered if Brady would have a similar outlook on retired life. Money talks, even to someone who has piled up plenty in career earnings, and according to Mike McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Brady will become the highest paid analyst in the NFL at $20-25 million per year, with an expected contract length of more than five years.
That’s a serious commitment to the booth, and while we don’t really know how good Brady will be, it’s a safe bet that he will at least draw eyeballs given his stature as arguably the best to ever play the quarterback position.