Who will replace Tom Brady at Fox? 6 potential options, including Greg Olsen, Drew Brees

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Tom Brady will end up being a staple on Fox’s main NFL show. It was reported Tuesday that Brady had signed a 10-year contract with the network worth $375 million to become its No. 1 analyst in the NFL.

However, Brady’s deal with Fox won’t start right away. Instead, it will begin when he officially retires from the NFL.

Brady retired at the start of the 2022 NFL offseason, but after 40 days he chose to return to the field. He is still under contract with the Buccaneers and plans to play at least one more season.

As such, Brady won’t be in the pits for 2022, and it’s possible he plays beyond this season. Because of this, Fox will need a placeholder in the booth for Brady to complete his short-term broadcast pairing with Kevin Burkhardt.

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Seems like an easy find. After all, what analyst would turn down an opportunity to be part of Fox’s top NFL couple? Well, the potential short-term aspect of this placeholder role could complicate finding the network.

Here are some placeholder options to watch as Fox looks to solidify its broadcast plans for 2022.

Greg Olson

Olsen has long been tied to the No. 1 job at Fox. He just completed his first year in the booth, where he served as an analyst alongside Burkhardt on Fox’s No. 2 broadcast team. Burkhardt was promoted to the No. 1 team after Joe Buck left, so Olsen was considered a potential Troy Aikman replacement.

Fox appears to be hovering over Olsen. After all, they hired him for a major role last season despite his relative lack of experience in the stand. If they liked his chemistry with Burkhardt, they might choose to keep the duo together while they wait for Brady.

But is Olsen interested in a temporary role? Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that it’s “unclear” if Olsen would be willing to serve as a placeholder until Brady is ready.

Fox, which has two of the next three Super Bowls, including February, has Greg Olsen as its leading contender. However, it’s unclear what Olsen would feel about being a placeholder until Brady takes over.

If so, Fox may have to leave Olsen on its No. 2 broadcast team and look elsewhere for a short-term color commentator.

MORE: Tom Brady’s contract breach with Fox

Drew Bree

Brees is another somewhat green analyst who has caught Fox’s interest. Brees retired from the NFL after the 2020 NFL season and spent the last year working at NBC. He was an analyst on their Sunday Night Football pre-game show and also spent time in the stand with Mike Tirico when Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were on hiatus.

It had long been rumored that television networks had an interest in signing Brees after his retirement, but NBC won the initial draw for him a few years before his retirement. Could Fox step in now, provide him with a raise and give him the opportunity to call more games? It seemed possible for a while, but Marchand reports it’s unlikely after the network signed Brady.

The network had considered NBC’s Drew Brees as a possibility, but with Brady’s signing, that may no longer be an option.

It would probably take a lot of money to lure Brees away from NBC. Fox may just not be willing to pay that for an analyst who would potentially be relegated to the No. 2 team as early as 2023.

Michael-Strahan-051022-GETTY-FTR

Michael Strahan

Strahan, like Olsen, represents an inside option for Fox. However, unlike Olsen, Strahan isn’t already calling the games for the network. He works as a studio host for the network and was a staple of their pre-“Thursday Night Football” coverage.

Could Strahan move to the cabin? If Fox needs a quick fix, they could turn to the former Hall of Famer, given his charisma and energy, as a short-term option. The “Good Morning America” ​​host may be happier operating in the short-term in that capacity than other contestants.

It’s also worth noting that former Fox Sports TV personality Jason Whitlock told Front Office Sports in March that Strahan could be a “stopper” option for the No. 1 broadcast team. So if Fox doesn’t not find takers for the role on a one-year basis, they might turn to Strahan.

MORE: 49ers set target date for Jimmy Garoppolo trade

Sean Payton

Fox loves big names, which is part of why they sued Brady. Payton would certainly fit the bill, as the former Saints coach was considered a big broadcast price after retiring from coaching during the 2022 NFL offseason.

There seems to be a connection between Payton and Fox. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported in late April that the two sides were close to an agreement to bring Payton to their NFL lineup. However, the two sides are only discussing studio analyst contracts; they do not explore color commentary positions.

Could that change after Fox’s deal with Brady? Of course it could. But it seems Payton is more interested in becoming a studio analyst. As such, Fox will likely keep him in that role. It would also make him easier to replace if he decides he wants to return to training in the future, which seems possible.

Jay-Cutler-051022-GETTY-FTR

cutler jay

Once upon a time, Cutler was to be the future of broadcasting at Fox. He hired Cutler to be his No. 2 analyst for the 2017 NFL season.

However, Cutler received an offer back to the NFL early in the season to play with the Dolphins; he took it. After that, Fox took a different direction while Cutler starred on his ex-wife’s reality show “Very Cavallari.”

Could Cutler return to the stand five years later? It’s something he would love to do, as he told Front Office Sports.

“I would love to do it. I think it’s a fun gig. It keeps you in the game,” Cutler said in March.

If an opportunity presents itself, I will jump on it.

Maybe Fox still holds Cutler in high enough regard to give him a chance. At the very least, keep an eye out for him as the network looks to fill out its depth chart of broadcasters.

MORE: How Tom Brady’s non-retirement impacted the 2022 NFL schedule

John Lynch

Look, it’s probably not likely that Lynch will assume the No. 1 broadcast job at Fox. He was in the network stand but left to become the 49ers general manager.

Things went well for Lynch and Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. They made the Super Bowl in 2020 and went to the NFC Championship Game last season. That said, if Lynch is tired of the GM spotlight or worried the 49ers may want to switch soon, he might consider returning to television.

Front Office Sports reported in late April that Lynch was among the “contenders” for Fox’s No. 1 color analyst job. This does not necessarily mean that he wants the job; desire may be more on the network side.

Nonetheless, the Hall of Famer would be a reasonable target for Fox. It’s just not clear if he would actually consider any openings.

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