When he eventually retires for good in the year 2050, Tom Brady already has his next job.
Brady and Fox jointly announced Tuesday that the quarterback will take over as the network's No. 1 NFL game analyst whenever he's done quarterbacking.
News of Brady taking the Fox job, naturally, made my mind wander to... Tony Romo. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback jumping straight from the booth to the CBS A-team changed football broadcasting forever.
Romo's early success led NBC to sign Drew Brees to a broadcasting deal before his career ended, and his 10-year, $180 million contract completely reset the market for NFL game analysts. In fact, that deal opened the door for Brady to take this job in the first place, since Troy Aikman left Fox for a 5-year, $90 million deal at ESPN.
Once Brady leaves the field (for good, this time) and joins Fox, here will be the No. 1 analysts at all the NFL and major college networks. See if you can find a few common themes.
Fox: Tom Brady
CBS: Tony Romo
NBC: Cris Collinsworth
ESPN: Troy Aikman
Amazon: Kirk Herbstreit
ESPN: Kirk Herbstreit
Fox: Joel Klatt
John Madden redefined the job of a color commentator, but coaches almost never take TV jobs these days. As the money has grown, networks have honed in on quarterbacks for their No. 1 analyst jobs. It remains to be seen how much Fox will pay Brady, especially considering the network wasn't willing to reset the market for Aikman, but since Brady will also serve as a catch-all ambassador for the Fox network, his number could easily approach or even surpass Romo and Aikman territory.
And that leads me to my final thought, on how this trend could have a downstream affect on the quarterback economy at the youth and high school levels. Being a top-10 QB in the NFL is now a $40 million a year job, and the best and brightest will have opportunities to earn $20 million a year (or more) for another 20-plus years on TV.
It's not out of the realm of possibility that an Arch Manning, a Dylan Raiola or some middle school or younger kid we've never heard of could earn a billion dollars playing and analyzing the quarterback position by his 60th birthday, not counting endorsements and investments.
So if you're a veteran quarterbacks coach and you find yourself wondering why the families you deal with are suddenly becoming even more intense than they used to be, here's why.
Update: Brady will earn a reported $375 million over the life of the deal.