Greg Olsen likely done as Fox's No. 1 NFL analyst with Tom Brady on deck: Now what?

Greg Olsen drew rave reviews for his commentary during Sunday's NFC championship game on Fox.

Social media lit up with praise as Olsen correctly identified at kickoff San Francisco's exploitability against the run before the Detroit Lions reeled off 148 yards and three touchdowns on the ground before halftime.

That praise reflected the general assessment of Olsen's performance as the analyst on Fox's No. 1 broadcast team. He provides poignant insights into the game and informs viewers of relevant information that they might not otherwise be aware of. He's a pleasure to listen to. He's good at his job.

Barring something unexpected, Sunday was Olsen's last day on that job alongside lead play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt. Thanks to Fox's deal with Tom Brady, Olsen is in line for a demotion. The question now for Olsen if he is demoted: will he stay or will he go?

Is Tom Brady ready to step up?

Brady's expected to step into Olsen's role in the fall with Fox slated to broadcast next season's Super Bowl. Fox signed Brady in 2022 to a 10-year, $375 million contract to take over as its lead game analyst pending his retirement from the NFL.

He was initially slated to take on the position for the 2023 season but put the job on hold for a year after an offseason of pondering continuing his NFL career. He ultimately retired, but wanted a year to prepare so he can "be great at what I do." Brady's since reiterated his plan to start in 2024, but Fox has yet to confirm the plans for next season's broadcast teams.

Greg Olsen, right, is likely going to cede his No. 1 role at Fox to Tom Brady. (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Greg Olsen, right, is likely going to cede his No. 1 role at Fox to Tom Brady. (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Olsen continued to thrive in Brady's absence

Brady's gap year meant another year for Olsen on Fox's No. 1 team, a position that he and Burkhardt took over when Joe Buck and Troy Aikman left for ESPN for the 2022 season. Olsen's proven himself in two years in the spotlight as a top-tier announcer. This is in a role where criticism regularly veers into vitriol from fans and media critics alike. Meanwhile, there's nothing to indicate Brady's competence for the job. We'll all have to wait and see.

Assuming that Brady does take over, Olsen's in line for a significant pay cut. Per the New York Post's Andrew Marchand, Olsen's five-year contract with Fox is worth $10 million annually when he's calling games on the network's No. 1 team. On the No. 2 team, Olsen's due $3 million per year.

His contract also offers him an out. Per Marchand, Olsen has an opt-out clause that allows him to seek a role with another network in the event that he's bumped from the No. 1 Fox team. This, of course, would require an opening at another network.

Will Greg Olsen have options?

Tony Romo is the lead analyst at CBS alongside Jim Nantz. Romo has a $180 million deal with the network through 2030. Cris Collinsworth is the top analyst at NBC alongside Mike Tirico. He was reportedly in contract talks in 2021 to extend through 2025 at $12.5 million annually. The results of those talks weren't made public, but he remains a fixture at NBC.

Kirk Herbstreit will enter his second season calling games alongside Al Michaels at Amazon. He reportedly makes $10 million annually in the role that allows him to continue covering college football on a long-term deal at ESPN. And Aikman has the "Monday Night Football" gig at ESPN locked up alongside longtime partner Joe Buck. He'll enter the third year next season of a reported five-year, $92.5 million contract.

This is all to say that there are no No. 1 analyst openings in sight. What's a No. 1-caliber talent to do when faced with playing second chair to an unproven but immensely marketable Brady while facing a $7 million pay cut?

Without the prospect of another No. 1 gig, it may add up to Olsen remaining at Fox on the No. 2 team while eyeing his next shot at a top job. Which would be a boon for Fox. For now, it's a waiting game dependent on Brady actually taking over.