Troy Aikman is about to make a move that's going to shake up the football broadcast industry. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current NFL color commentator for Fox is on the verge of leaving the network to become the main analyst for ESPN. Aikman's ESPN deal is reportedly set for five years, with the yearly salary expected to be around $17.5 million per year, which is similar to Tony Romo's contract with CBS. Aikman has not signed the deal as of this writing.
The news comes on the heels of Al Michaels, the play-by-play announcer for NBC's Sunday Night Football, being a free agent as his contract ran out. He could join Aikman on ESPN but is in negotiations to be the lead play-by-play voice when Amazon Prime Video kicks off its coverage of Thursday Night Football. Marchand says that Michaels wants Aikman to join him at Amazon.
ESPN currently has Steve Levy, Louis Riddick Jr. and Brian Griese calling games for Monday Night Football. With ESPN having an expansion in NFL games from 18 to 25 games, Marchand says the network will need to be multiple crews to cover them. Joe Buck could join Aikman at ESPN as Marchand noted that Buck's contract with Fox is up next year, and ESPN could go after him to keep Aikman with his broadcasting partner.
With Aikman likely leaving Fox, the network needs to find a replacement. It could promote Greg Olsen to the role as he was the No. 2 analyst for Fox last year. Marchand also says Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and former Saints quarterback and current NBC NFL analyst Drew Brees could be in the mix.
Aikman has been calling games on Fox since 2002. During that time, Aikman has called six Super Bowls on Fox – Super Bowl XXXIX from Jacksonville with Buck and Cris Collinsworth, Super Bowl XLII in Arizona, Super Bowl XLV in North Texas, Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, Super Bowl LI from Houston and Super Bowl LIV from Miami. Aikman played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1989 to 2000 and led the team to three Super Bowl titles.