Is Cowboys Ex Tony Romo Poised to Get Paid $20M to Do NFL On TV?

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - Tony Romo wasted no time following his retirement as a Dallas Cowboys QB becoming a star in another arena, as the lead analyst for the NFL on CBS starting in the 2016 season. With his contract nearing expiration, Romo is wasting no time looking to cash in on his talents again.

A month ago, we were told he had an offer from ESPN that would "double his salary,'' according to a source. And now? 

How about a bidding war that results in a new annual salary of $20 million?

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has been loved in that role for CBS. Many praise his abilities in the booth, and it appears ESPN has taken notice.

One report before the Super Bowl suggested was ESPN is preparing to make him a massive offer of around $10-to-14 million a year to leave CBS. Such a deal would make Romo the highest-paid sportscaster in TV history. A source told then that the network was preparing to "double his salary''; it's believed that Romo presently makes $3 million a year, so ...

Up, up and up we go, with this report about a "bidding war'' taking the number as high as $20 million annually.

The reason this concept works - presumably with Romo moving straight into the high-profile "Monday Night Football'' booth on ESPN - is because Romo has eased nicely into the role of a prime-time TV personality who isn't just a "football guy.''

As we noted when Romo first made the move into television (and as we noted a decade before, when Emmitt Smith attempted to do the same), their job isn't just about "football.'' Romo is on TV for three hours at a time, every week. He gets watched like "Seinfeld'' or like the actors on "The Big Bang Theory'' or like the cast of "Saturday Night Live''... the job is to become a network star.

CBS understands this. Romo has the gifts to have embraced it. And while the contractual future of "Monday Night Football'' might be up in the air (ESPN's existing $15.2 billion deal with the NFL lasts through 2021), Romo as "their Madden'' or "their Cosell'' or "their Seinfeld'' is what this is all about.