Despite what you’ve read, here and elsewhere, Trent Dilfer is not leaving Bristol. The longtime NFL analyst told The MMQB’s Kalyn Kahler that he remains under contract at ESPN and will return next year in a larger role, under a “multi-year extension.”
KAHLER: So many reports over the past few months had you leaving ESPN—what happened? And how will your role be different?
DILFER: A lot of stuff gets said that isn’t true. I’ve been under contract with ESPN and I am still under contract with ESPN. I will be next year as well. I will be back, and in fact, doing more of an expanded role. It will be Monday Night Countdown and Sunday NFL Countdown. The Sunday morning thing is new for me. I’m excited to be working with the new guys, Matthew Hasselbeck, Charles Woodson—and still working with Chris Berman. Is it any different? I like changing things up, I like doing different things and this will be one more thing I’ll get to do. I’ve done this show before. I’ve been on Sunday NFL Countdown I think four or five times. The pregame thing is different than what I have done in the past, because most of what I’ve done is reactionary, I’m reacting to what happens Sunday during the day, and now this is a little more predictive and storyline-based.
So not only will Dilfer stick around the Worldwide Leader, he’ll get a promotion, appearing on the network’s Sunday morning show alongside some other big names.
Dilfer’s rumored departure from Bristol was supposed to be about money — after building up Dilfer into their resident quarterback expert, ESPN had reportedly priced itself out of his services. But instead of cutting ties with Dilfer, ESPN appears to have opted to put him to greater use, expanding his role to justify his (we assume) hefty salary.
It also might help that ESPN has a bit more salary money floating around than it might have planned, after the departures of Mike Tirico and Skip Bayless (and Bill Simmons and Colin Cowherd before them). Sure John Skipper and company seem committed to limiting big-money commitments, but they’ve got pay somebody, and Dilfer was the guy.