Tony Romo and CBS finalized a 10-year contract extension last Friday that will net Romo more than he made in his entire NFL career.
Before CBS agreed to make Romo the highest-paid sports broadcaster ever, the network made a phone call to one of his quarterbacking contemporaries.
Report: CBS called Manning
Via Andrew Marchand, the New York Post’s media reporter, CBS called Peyton Manning in the middle of negotiations with Romo to offer Manning the job as its lead NFL analyst.
Marchand wrote that CBS was worried about how high Romo’s contract might go, particularly since ESPN was eager to sign the 39-year-old.
Manning, who has been the desire of every network that broadcasts NFL games since the day he announced his retirement, took his time mulling the offer and ultimately declined.
CBS even “flirted” with Drew Brees, Marchand wrote, during a phone call; Brees has decided to play a 20th NFL season this year.
Romo and CBS went on to agree to a 10-year contract with a full value of $180 million. According to OvertheCap.com, Romo earned $127.4 million in 14 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
Would ESPN have paid?
According to Marchand, ESPN was willing to offer Romo $140 million over 10 years had he become available — CBS had an exclusive 30-day negotiating period after the Super Bowl to get an extension done, and Romo would have been able to talk to other networks at the end of the 30 days.
ESPN supposedly wasn’t willing to match the amount of money Romo ultimately agreed to with CBS.
Romo is very popular among viewers, and if networks are ultimately most concerned about pleasing the NFL, which they pay billions of dollars to for the right to air games, then Romo has at least one member of the powerful league broadcast committee on his side: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Marchand wrote that ESPN will now turn back to Manning, whom the network would love to see in its “Monday Night Football” booth.
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