Tony Romo, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current lead color commentator for CBS’ NFL coverage, wants $10 million a year to stay at the network, according to a report from Michael McCarthy of Sporting News.
That would make him the highest-paid sports announcer not only working today but of all time, topping John Madden, who made $8.5 million at his peak.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post also reported that $10 million figure, but as a hypothetical; Romo has a year left on his $4 million-per-year deal at CBS and does not become a free agent until after the 2019 season.
The hypothetical involved the price that CBS would have to pay to keep Romo off the market and get him to sign a contract extension without being tempted to test the market
One likely suitor would be ESPN, which has a hole in its “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth after Romo’s former teammate, Jason Witten, announced he is coming out of retirement and rejoining the Cowboys.
There is just one problem with the reports about Romo — the one source nobody has cited is Romo himself.
The 38-year-old broadcaster told Richard Deitsch of The Athletic that he has had offers to return to the league, either to throw the football once again or to get into coaching.
Romo also has other media offers on the table; he has found life and success as a pitchman, including a series of commercials for Chaps by Ralph Lauren that feature Romo’s family.
But all of that stems from his high-profile day job, from his playing days to his star turn as one of the best voices in the broadcast booth covering pro football.
Furthermore, it’s not clear what Romo would gain from jumping ship besides money; Romo and broadcast partner Jim Nantz have become fast friends, bonding over football and both men’s other passion: golf.
The two have on-air chemistry that, if the stinker of a Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams is anything to go by, even works when the game on the field is terrible.
Sure, CBS is going to have to pony up for that, and if Jon Gruden could make $6.5 million to call “Monday Night Football” at ESPN and Peyton Manning could reportedly turn down an offer of $7 million that ESPN is said to have made to him before hiring Witten, surely Romo is worth even more.
We don’t know where Romo stands on this; he hasn’t said a word.
We don’t know what CBS is planning; the network declined to comment to both Sporting News and the Post.
What we do know is that broadcasting is a competitive market, Romo is a bankable star, and considering Madden retired a decade ago, $8.5 million adjusted for inflation since 2009 is — you guessed it– almost bang-on $10 million.
Fans get to enjoy the dulcet tones and on-air chemistry of CBS’ incredible lead broadcast team for another year of Sundays before this becomes an issue.
Time will tell what happens afterward.
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