Jason Kelce, Nate Burelson, Greg Olsen NFL Media Storylines Nate Burleson, Jason Kelce and Greg Olsen.

With Super Bowl LVIII in the books, the NFL’s offseason is officially here.

And while there will be plenty of interesting developments across the league in the months ahead, the same could also be said for the media that covers it.

From a potential shakeup to one of the signature studio shows, to multiple free agencies, Tom Brady’s arrival and this little thing called streaming, there will be plenty to keep an eye on. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five biggest NFL media stories that we’ll be tracking between now and the start of the 2024 campaign.

Ian Rapoport’s free agency

Ian Rapoport has made his name breaking NFL news, including free agent signings. Now the longtime NFL Media insider is about to become a free agent himself, with the New York Post‘s Ryan Glasspiegel reporting that Rapoport’s contract is set to expire in the offseason ahead.

Considering the changes that could be coming to NFL Media this offseason — including a potential partnership with ESPN — it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rapoport ultimately land elsewhere. With experience reporting, writing, and being on screen, he could ultimately find himself with multiple employers, much like Shams Charania of The Athletic/Stadium/FanDuel.

As for potential suitors, any NFL-affiliated network, online outlet, or even sportsbook could be a possibility. Given his status as one of the league’s top insiders, it will be interesting to not only see where Rapoport lands, but also what it means for the direction of NFL Media.

What’s next for streaming?

NBC's Jason Garrett curiously called Dolphins star Tyreek Hill's presence pervasive during Saturday's playoff game. Photo Credit: Peacock
Jason Garrett and Mike Tirico. Photo Credit: Peacock

The future of streaming looms large in every sport, but the NFL, in particular, appears to be at a crossroads. Last month, the league took a significant leap in airing its first-ever streaming-only playoff game on Peacock, with Amazon’s Prime Video already in line to host its own streaming-exclusive postseason game next season.

But while all indications are that the NFL has been nothing short of successful in its streaming endeavors, the league has also faced backlash from fans who are frustrated by the increasing number of games — including Thursday Night Football — that are now behind paywalls. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to acknowledge as much last week when he stated that despite speculation to the contrary, he doesn’t envision the Super Bowl ever being streaming-only so long as he’s in power.

Still, it will be worth monitoring how the NFL’s streaming strategy continues to take shape in the months ahead. Could we see a second streaming-exclusive playoff game? Will any regular-season games be affected? And perhaps most interestingly, how does the recently announced ESPN/Fox/TNT Sports streaming platform factor into all of this?

The NFL Today’s future

After broadcasting Sunday’s Super Bowl, the future of CBS’ signature studio show is in flux. While the network recently re-signed The NFL Today host James Brown to a new two-year deal, longtime panelists Bill Cowher, Phil Simms, and Boomer Esiason are set to become free agents and all signs are pointing to a potential youth movement at the network.

First and foremost, the network will need to re-sign Nate Burleson, who is also set to become a free agent and will be highly coveted in both sports and news (he also hosts CBS Mornings). If CBS can re-sign the former NFL wide receiver, it would make sense to make him The NFL Today‘s top analyst, with JJ Watt having an increased presence after doing part-time work throughout the 2023 campaign.

As for the rest of its panel, CBS could bring back one (or more) of Cowher, Simms, or Esiason or give current game analysts Matt Ryan, Jason McCourty and/or Ross Tucker a try in the studio. It’s also worth noting that this year’s media free agent class might be the best in some time, which brings us to…

Jason Kelce and Bill Belichick watch

Jason Kelce
(Photo Credit: Antranik Tavitian/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Jason Kelce has yet to officially retire. And Bill Belichick has yet to express interest in joining the media. But at this point, it would be a major upset if the Philadelphia Eagles center and former New England Patriots head coach don’t have some sort of presence on network airwaves next fall.

For Kelce, it’s hard to remember a player who has entered retirement more ready-made for the media. In addition to his experience hosting New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce, the 36-year-old possesses both the name value and playing credentials that will make him one of the most coveted former players in quite some time. In addition to spending last week supporting his younger brother, Kelce reportedly met with executives from ESPN and Fox Sports during his time in Las Vegas leading up to the Super Bowl.

As for Belichick, his status as a 6-time Super Bowl champion head coach speaks for itself and despite his gruff demeanor, most actually believe he’d thrive on a studio show. If CBS ultimately opts to not re-sign Cowher, it’s hard to think of a better replacement for the Super Bowl-winning coach than “The Hoodie.”

What does Tom Brady’s arrival mean for Greg Olsen?

Tom Brady’s arrival in broadcasting was always going to receive plenty of attention. And to this point, all indications are that the 7-time Super Bowl champion is still on track to join Kevin Burkhardt on Fox’s No. 1 NFL team next fall.

But while it’s certainly worth monitoring how Brady fares in the booth, perhaps the most interesting aspect of his highly anticipated debut is what it will mean for Fox’s current No. 1 analyst, Greg Olsen. After retiring following the 2020 season, the former Pro Bowl tight end has enjoyed a rapid rise in the media, to the point that he’s not just Fox’s top analyst, but also arguably the most popular analyst in all of football.

While it’s possible that Olsen could remain at Fox as the network’s No. 2 analyst behind Brady (in which case his salary would reportedly drop from $10 million to $3 million), his contract allows him the ability to leave the network if offered a job elsewhere. And although he’s been nothing but complimentary toward Fox, which gave him his big broadcasting break, he has also made it clear that he is open to other opportunities.

Between now and September, plenty of dominos will fall, but none might be bigger than what happens with Olsen. Whether he stays at Fox or lands elsewhere, his decision will likely prove pivotal in helping shape an NFL offseason unlike any other from a media perspective.

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.