The epicenter of NFL news on Tuesday? That’s easy.
The Buccaneers were making headlines all over the place starting with the news that quarterback Tom Brady will become the lead NFL analyst at FOX when his playing career ends, news that was announced by FOX Corporation CEO and executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch as it was happening on a FOX earnings call.
“We have breaking news, which in the spirit of being always open and giving our investors the latest news on the company, I’ll go straight to this,” Murdoch said. “This is happening in real time. We are pleased to announced that, immediately following his playing career, whenever that may be, seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady will be joining us at FOX Sports as our lead analyst.”
Murdoch added that Brady would not only call the network’s biggest and most important games but also “serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives.”
And most NFL fans wouldn’t ordinarily think of a network announcing its future lead NFL analyst as news on par with what their quarterback might be doing. But this was truly a seismic event on multiple levels.
First, Brady has had one of the most intriguing offseasons of his career — one in which he retired, then unretired about a month later, and now is setting himself up for post-retirement work.
Secondly, the deal Brady is getting to discuss the NFL may be bigger than any he has ever signed to actually play in the NFL
Brady, easily the most accomplished quarterback of his generation (and a couple of other generations for that matter) has earned a total of $302,619,794 during his 22 NFL seasons, according to overthecap.com.
The New York Post, citing sources, reported his FOX contract is worth a reported $375 million for 10 years. FOX spokesman Brian Nick disputed that report to OutKick Tuesday evening.
“What has been reported isn’t an accurate description of the deal and we have not released details beyond what was disclosed on our quarterly earnings call,” Nick wrote in an email.
Nick did not specify exactly which part of the report in inaccurate.
This much is clear: Brady didn’t come cheaply.
ESPN’s Troy Aikman and Tony Romo of CBS previously set the high mark for analyst salaries at a reported $18 million per season. Even if the $37.5 million annual average the Post reported is indeed off, it’s a certainty, one industry source said, Brady is easily beating the other two former QBs.
Murdoch stressed there is no expectation on when Brady will begin his announcing career.
“That’s up to him to make that choice when he sees fit,” Murdoch said.
Brady is unsigned beyond the 2022 season. He will play this season for the Buccaneers and then make a decision on 2023. Brady will have the choice to return to Tampa, sign with another team, or retire and begin working in the broadcast booth.
The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are planning for the upcoming season very much with their veteran starting quarterback. And they’re thankful he’s the guy and not others on the team.
“Backflips – which isn’t easy for me to do,” Bucs quarterback coach Clyde Christensen said, describing his reaction to hearing Brady was un-retiring a month after supposedly leaving for good. “Ecstatic.”
Notice Christensen didn’t say surprised. Because he wasn’t surprised.
“I kind of was suspect – I’ve teased,” he said. “The first couple of FaceTimes, he was vacuuming his condo – dusting and stuff. I just always had a feel that said, ‘Hey, this guy’s not quite done playing football and he played so well last year.’
“So, I don’t know if it was hopeful or a hint that he was going to come back. Then, of course, the reaction was ecstatic. I wanted to be around him another year – I wanted to see him. I think we left some stuff undone last year.”
Christensen described how Brady is now ahead of schedule in preparing for the season than he was a year ago because last year the quarterback was rehabilitating from knee surgery.
“That’s what I keep reminding him, ‘Hey, we’re getting some good work done right now. Last year at this time, you were just trying to get full extension of your knee – being able to lock your knee out,’” the coach said. “So, we’re way, way, way ahead of last year.”
Christensen, by the way, added that 2021 draft pick Kyle Trask should expect a lot of work during the rest of this offseason — perhaps as much or more than the veterans ahead of him.
And that’s news, too.
But not as interesting as finding out Tom Brady vacuums and dusts his own condo.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero