Troy Aikman makes surprising revelation about leaving FOX for ESPN
Troy Aikman will start a new gig next season after he accepted a massive contract offer from ESPN, and he may never know if FOX would have been willing to match it.
During an appearance on Sports Radio 96.7 and 1310 The Ticket in Dallas this week, Aikman shared a surprising piece of information about the events that led to him leaving FOX for ESPN. He said FOX never made a final offer to him after he received the offer from ESPN, which Aikman found “strange.”
“It is a strange set of circumstances that led me to where I am now and not be back at Fox,” Aikman said, as transcribed by Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “And I never would have envisioned that six months ago and so it is strange. When negotiations couldn’t reach, what I felt was fair value, I was able to negotiate an opt-out after six months which allowed me to be a free agent.”
Aikman was referring to his previous contract with FOX. He signed a four-year extension worth $13.2 million per year prior to the 2021 season. The deal included his and Joe Buck’s new “Thursday Night Football” responsibilities, but Aikman negotiated an opt-out into his contract. He exercised that opt-out clause when ESPN made their offer, but the Hall of Famer still expected FOX to make an effort to keep him.
“Then Fox never jumped into the game. They never made an offer,” Aikman said. “I didn’t have any conversations with Fox, until I got a call to congratulate me on my new deal. So that was a decision they made and it’s fine.”
It’s possible that FOX simply was not willing to pay as much as ESPN, so they didn’t want to insult Aikman with a lower offer. After all, Aikman will now be the highest-paid analyst in NFL history with his ESPN deal.
There has been talk of FOX letting Buck walk as well, and they may do so with a somewhat unique arrangement. The NFL TV landscape will look a lot different in 2022, and there could be even more changes coming.
Photo: Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports