There has been an expectation for some time that Troy Aikman will be leaving Fox, with reports that he was being strongly pursued by Amazon to join Al Michaels in their Thursday Night Football booth (although Michaels has, likewise, yet to ink an official deal.
Aikman was not shy about making his frustrations felt when it came to Fox’s draw of games during the playoffs, and it certainly seemed as if he had taken the filter off for the end of his tenure at Fox. Amazon had long been rumored to want to spend big for its Thursday Night booth and poach some big names to give their broadcast some star power, but it appears they aren’t the only ones who had big plans for 2022.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN has swooped in on Aikman and is expected to hire the Hall of Famer to take over in the Monday Night Football booth, finally landing the big name they’ve been desperately seeking since the departure of the since disgraced Jon Gruden.
ESPN is deep in negotiations with Fox Sports’ Troy Aikman to make him its lead analyst on “Monday Night Football,” The Post has learned.
Aikman’s deal is not completed yet, but there is an expectation that it will be finalized. Aikman has also been courted by Amazon.
The exact figures of Aikman’s deal are not yet fully finalized, but for him to leave Fox it is expected to be comparable to or exceed Tony Romo’s 10-year $180 million with CBS.
What is arguably more interesting than ESPN landing Aikman is what it could do for them in terms of a play-by-play hire to go next to him. Michaels has been targeted by ESPN in the past but is picky about his color commentator and wouldn’t jump ship without a big name by his side — ESPN wanted a Michaels-Manning booth a couple years ago — but Aikman was on his list for Amazon and that could swing him away from the streaming giant and give ESPN the star-filled booth they’ve been dreaming of since acquiring Monday Night Football. Marchand also notes that Joe Buck has a strong relationship with Aikman and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that ESPN could try to poach him as well, although he has so many roles at Fox, including as their lead on baseball, that the network would surely fight hard to keep him.