Tony Romo ascended to a new level as an analyst during the AFC Championship game, and with his CBS deal expiring after the upcoming season, he’s likely to be in high demand.
It might seem strange to consider Romo leaving CBS after just three years, when the network essentially jumpstarted his broadcasting career by slotting him into the #1 analyst role alongside Jim Nantz. (Remember when some people were mad about that?) Romo’s stock has soared since then, though, and he’s certainly in line for a raise. Whether it’s from CBS or another network is the only remaining variable.
And according to some recent reports, it’s looking more and more likely that Romo will at the very least test the market. First the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand wrote that Romo and CBS hadn’t had “substantive talks” on a new deal that would boost Romo’s annual salary. Now, Front Office Sports writer Michael McCarthy reports that Romo’s reps are seeking a salary in the $10 million range, while characterizing the talks with CBS as “stalled”.
With the new 2019 NFL season a week away, talks on a contract extension between Romo and CBS have stalled with little progress, said sources.
The piece notes that an extension with CBS remains the most likely outcome, but that whoever lands Romo is going to be paying him a lot more than what he’s currently earning.
With CBS and NBC swapping spots in the Super Bowl rotation, Romo is also poised to broadcast his second Super Bowl after the 2020 season. CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said he expects to keep Romo on the network for a long time.
But stranger things have happened. Romo’s reps at Creative Artists Agency are seeking a hefty raise to $10 million annually from his current $4 million-a-year pact, said sources.
$10 million is an eye-catching number, but it’s not that ridiculous given the money involved with live sports, the visibility of the role, and the fact that Romo has a chance to be the rare modern broadcaster capable of attracting viewers on his own. If CBS wants to keep him, though, they’re definitely going to face competition. ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth is the logical other bidder, and not just because of last year’s widely-mocked issues.
It’s more a matter of the talent currently in place. For the money Romo will demand (and likely command), a network isn’t going to bring him in as anything other than the #1 analyst. Fox has Troy Aikman in that role already, who unlike Phil Simms is very good at the job. NBC has Cris Collinsworth, who is also unlikely to be shoved out the door.
ESPN, though, once again very publicly went after Peyton Manning this offseason, and while Monday Night Football maybe isn’t quite what it used to be in terms of prestige, it remains a high-profile program. Given ESPN’s renewed efforts to repair their NFL relationship, it’s likely to get even stronger, with the potential for more games on ABC and a seat at the Super Bowl table all in play during the next round of rights bidding.
Obviously all this speculation could end up being pointless; CBS clearly has a vested interest in Romo, he’s presumably comfortable there, and the money shouldn’t be an issue. But it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.