If Troy Aikman does indeed leave Fox to become the new Monday Night Football lead analyst with ESPN, it opens a significant role in Fox’s No. 1 announcer booth. The list of candidates that have been thrown out there to replace Aikman alongside Joe Buck ranges from no-brainers to no-chances.
The smart money appears to be on Greg Olsen, who is already Fox’s No. 2 analyst and has been long-rumored as Aikman’s heir apparent. There have also been a lot of rumors surrounding Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, who teased a move to TV last month. Former Saints coach Sean Payton has been thrown out there as someone Fox would love to have in the booth. San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch, who used to work for Fox as an analyst, has also been rumored.
An interesting name that has come up a bunch is Drew Brees. The former New Orleans Saints quarterback joined NBC Sports last year and has taken on a slew of roles, including Sunday Night Football studio analyst, Notre Dame TV analyst, and part-time NFL booth analyst. Unfortunately for him, Brees disappointed audiences with his performance during NBC’s broadcast of the Raiders–Bengals playoff game, as critics described him as “beyond vanilla,” “corporate,” and “not ready for the playoff stage.”
Still, TV executives seem to have high hopes about Brees and that’s been made clear about the fact that he’s been floated to replace Aikman for Fox. But how would that work if Drew has a contract with NBC? Well, in theory, the two networks make a trade, just like when he was a player. Essentially, the network that has a contract with the announcer allows the other network to negotiate a new one while getting some kind of compensation in return.
It wouldn’t be the first time networks have made a trade for an announcer. In fact, Al Michaels was “traded” from ESPN/ABC to NBC back in 2006 for “various sports considerations and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.” There were even rumors that Michaels could be traded back to ESPN in 2020, but those were kiboshed.
For people asking about how a trade could possibly happen: Al Michaels was once traded from ESPN to NBC. Really. It has happened before. https://t.co/oCcVsq3TTG
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 24, 2022
There have been other trade scenarios between networks as well. As Awful Announcing’s Joe Lucia pointed out, ESPN traded Ryder Cup coverage to NBC for Premier League highlights in 2013.
While it seems unlikely that Fox would put in the effort to wrest Brees away from NBC when they have someone like Olsen in-house already, we’ll see if anything comes of it. But in the meantime, there were some interesting reactions to the possibility on social media.
The greatest thing here is that Drew Brees played 20 years in the NFL and he was never traded. Now, he could be traded as a TV analyst. https://t.co/6Eg0IOFqMZ
— Wendell Ferreira (@wendellfp) February 24, 2022
What a weird world seeing Sean Payton and Drew Brees potentially competing for the same job. https://t.co/iQhcREGIL4
— Larry Holder (@LarryHolder) February 24, 2022
Disney traded Al Michaels for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit so I have to imagine Drew Brees is at least worth the rights to two Die Hard movies and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. https://t.co/O0lZoCQKQD
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) February 24, 2022
You can trade broadcasters??? https://t.co/XAFm7BzU0w
— DaWindyCity Productions (@dwcprodz) February 24, 2022