The Post has learned that Hall of Famer Troy Ekman is expected to leave Fox Sports to become the principal analyst on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
According to sources, Aikman’s deal will be ESPN for five years, and his annual salary is expected to approach or exceed Tony Romo’s $17.5 million per year contract. The deal has yet to be signed, but it is nearing completion.
ESPN declined to comment.
Ekman’s seismic move will destabilize the NFL Free Television Agency. Already this is off season, the Michaels contract, arguably Greatest NFL Player of All Timerun out with NBC.
Michaels, 77, was in line for yards in his negotiations to be the main voice in play by play when Amazon Prime Video kicked off its exclusive coverage of “Friday Night Football.” Michaels had hoped Aikman would join him on Thursday night.
Although Rams coach Sean McVeigh has said he will continue on the sidelines this year, Amazon He can seriously run into his faceAccording to the sources. Tom Brady cannot be fully counted as a candidate, but it must be emphasized that he has shown no indication of wanting to work in a booth.
ESPN currently includes Steve Levy, Louis Reddick, Jr., and Brian Grace as captains for the “Monday Night Football” team. Over the next few years, ESPN will have an expansion of NFL games from 18 to 25. They will need multiple crews to call them in.
While ESPN is considering a race at Michaels — it hasn’t done so yet — there is another wild possibility.
With Joe Buck next year, sources said ESPN may try to wrest Buck from Fox. Buck also calls the World Network Championship. Fox will have to give Buck’s permission if he wants to leave early.
Meanwhile, Fox has a gaping hole above the No. 1 broadcast team with two Super Bowls in the next three years. However, Fox has added depth to the pool of NFL analysts in recent years.
The company will consider its No. 2 analysts, Greg Olsen, McVeigh and Sean Payton, and possibly try to trade for NBC’s Drew Press, according to sources. Brees, who is in the NBC studio, is Also a candidate for Amazon On Thursday nights.
Fox will also wait if a mysterious candidate appears, someone who is now unclear. 49ers GM and former TV game analyst John Lynch could fall into this category with either Amazon or Fox.
Fox would also have an interest in Brady, but, if the network weren’t to match Aikman’s ESPN, it seems impossible to believe it would go into the stratosphere that would even require Brady’s lure.
Like Peyton Manning, Brady will be able to choose when and if he wants to be in the booth. Manning and his brother, Ellie, are set to broadcast 10 TV shows primarily via Zoom over the next three years. The New Year’s edition of Manningcast on ESPN2 Night Games on Monday was well received.
Almost two years ago in February 2020, Romo’s deal with CBS was made for 10 years and $180 million Changed the industry of the NFL analystbecause it was the richest in history.
Ekman was in the cabin much taller than Romo. Prior to last season, according to sources, Aikman used the leverage he had to make this new deal possible.
He had a break in his contract in which he could say he won’t be doing “Thursday Night Football” this season. With that leverage, Fox agreed to give Aikman a four-year extension at $13.2 million annually, according to sources.
There was one last clause in the contract – Ekman could withdraw after this season if he is to get a bigger and better contract, according to sources.
Over the past year, Aikman has been flirting with leaving. Talk openly about the prospect of going to Amazon.
In the end, ESPN, which had been trying to figure out its top booth for years, made its strongest showing yet.
Aikman’s new deal will run through Super Bowl 61 in 2027. This is no coincidence, as this game will be televised by ABC/ESPN. The next question is: Who will be Aikman’s partner?