• Loading stock data...
Sunday, May 19, 2024
exclusive
Media

Sean Payton Negotiating With Fox Sports

  • Former Saints coach would team with Joe Buck if Troy Aikman leaves.
  • Greg Olsen is still in play for the No. 1 job at Fox Sports.
Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports has started negotiations with Sean Payton about becoming its No. 1 NFL game analyst, sources tell Front Office Sports.

The former New Orleans Saints coach would team with play-by-play announcer Joe Buck if and when Troy Aikman finalizes his exit to either ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” or Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football.

Fox will broadcast two of the next three Super Bowls. If the 58-year old Payton succeeds, he’d immediately leap to the top of sports broadcasting along with Aikman, Tony Romo of CBS Sports, and Cris Collinsworth of NBC Sports. 

But the Super Bowl-winning coach doesn’t have a deal with Fox yet.

Sources told FOS that Payton could expect a contract worth $10 million annually. Aikman is reportedly set to receive a five-year, $90 million deal with ESPN.  

Rising star Greg Olsen excelled as Fox’s No. 2 game analyst this season. The former Carolina Panthers tight end is expected to get a shot at the No. 1 job with Buck. The 36-year-old rising star has options, too. 

Olsen’s been approached by Amazon about a studio gig on “TNF,” said sources. With Aikman now poised to join “MNF”, Olsen could make the leap to No. 1 analyst for Amazon.

Olsen has also been contacted by several NFL teams about coaching and front office positions, said sources. And he’s developing his own podcast network; a signal he’s going all-in on a media career.  

Other Names To Watch

There’s also some wild cards still in play. 

Fox is exploring whether Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay wants to jump to TV after winning Super Bowl LVI.

Former analyst John Lynch has reportedly been approached about a return to the booth from his post as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. 

Some Fox executives have long viewed former San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers as another “Dandy” Don Meredith. 

Still, hiring Payton would be a calculated risk. Fox would be gambling that Payton will succeed on TV rather than falling on his face like former “MNF” analyst Jason Witten.

“I think [Fox] takes a one-year risk on Sean Payton – and sees how it goes,” said one source familiar with the network’s strategy. “If it goes well, maybe they ante up, and keep him long-term. If it doesn’t, then Sean Payton returns to coaching.”

But another executive thought Fox would be better building for the long term around Olsen the way it did with Aikman. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has served as Fox’s No. 1 analyst since the 2002 season.

“The second [the Cowboys] fire Mike McCarthy, it’s Payton’s job. The whole world knows that,” he said. “It’s tricky to hire a coach who might only do it for one year. You want to build a business. You want to build what you had with [Aikman] for 20 years.”

Meanwhile, Aikman’s departure is sure to raise questions about whether Fox bungled negotiations. 

Despite calling two games a week, the three-time Super Bowl winner was chronically underpaid vs. Romo ($12 million vs. $18 million a year). Fox simply assumed Aikman would never leave – despite him openly talking about joining Amazon in an interview with Front Office Sports.

“This is [ESPN Chairman] Jimmy Pitaro’s greatest victory. They’ve needed to fix the ‘Monday Night Football’ booth since Jon Gruden left. Even when Gruden was there, they butchered it,” said another source.

Fox, ESPN, and Amazon declined comment.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.

NFL’s Christmas Shake-Up: Netflix and Amazon Will Take It Over in ’25

This is the new-age NFL, where anything goes, if the price is right.

Amazon’s Thursday Night Fever: Banking on Caitlin Clark’s Impact

Clark makes her home debut for the Indiana Fever on Thursday night.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

MLB, NBA, NHL Broadcasting Future Goes to Court

0:00

Featured Today

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.
May 9, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) stands with the team during the national anthem on Thursday, May 9, 2024, during the preseason game against the Atlanta Dream at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
May 12, 2024

‘Perfect Storm’: The Rise of Local WNBA Broadcast Pacts

With national attention reaching new heights, regional coverage could dictate the future.
Mar 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; American actors and comedians Chris Rock (left) and Ben Stiller sit court side during the third quarter between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden.
May 11, 2024

The Haves and Have-Nots: How the Knicks’ Celebrity Row Works

Unwritten rules, an expectation of quid pro quo, and nothing is free.
May 6, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Red Bull driver Max Verstappen (1) of the Netherlands walks through the garage area following qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome.
May 5, 2024

Max Verstappen Is Unstoppable. Is That Hurting F1 With New American Fans?

Formula One could be facing an inevitable plateau in the United States.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Adidas
Multiple - USA Careers
FanDuel
Multiple - USA Careers
Bally-Sports

DSG’s Path to Revival Faces Major Pushback from MLB, NBA, and NHL

Three major pro leagues raise further concerns about the bankrupt Bally Sports parent.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark Debuts With WNBA’s Most-Watched Game in Decades

The game averaged 2.12 million viewers, the WNBA’s highest since 2001.
May 15, 2024

NFL’s Schedule Points to Network Strategies: Chiefs Lead, Texans Rise

The two-time defending champions are a fixture across many of the league’s tentpole events.
Sponsored

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 15, 2024

MLB Slams Bally Sports Parent, Calls Blackout of Several Teams ‘Harmful’

The league blasts the bankrupt Bally Sports parent in a new court filing.
May 15, 2024

NFL Signs Three-Year Christmas Day Deal With Netflix

The streamer will show two holiday games in 2024 and one apiece in ’25 and ’26.
May 14, 2024

Want to Stream Live Sports? Better Know Your Bundle Options First

Comcast’s new StreamSaver bundle adds to a fast-growing number of combined offerings.
May 14, 2024

Amazon’s Upfront: What It Reveals About the Company’s Sports Plans

The online retail and streaming giant announces plans for a new set of sports films.