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Cheese Curds, 2/25: Free agency arrives for NFL’s television broadcasters

Troy Aikman is on the move, and Al Michaels is likely to be right behind him. Commentators! They’re just like us NFL players!

2017 FOX Upfront Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage

So far this offseason, there have been no trades between NFL teams that have been publicly agreed to. Aaron Rodgers’ decision remains unknown, leaving much of the league holding its breath to see what happens. Really, the biggest news of the offseason involving NFL players (to this point) is the retirement announcements from a few future Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

Filling the void instead are rumors, reports, and now news about the NFL’s commentators. The landscape of NFL broadcasting is going to get a big shakeup for 2022, as the first big domino has fallen — Troy Aikman appears to be leaving FOX for ESPN to do color commentary for Monday Night Football.

Who would have thought that the biggest news about NFL people switching teams in February would have been about the people who talk about the game, rather than those who play it?

Here’s a look at a bunch of the rumors swirling in TV-land.

ESPN on verge of hiring Fox Sports' Troy Aikman, per report | Yahoo! Sports
This is the start of the big shakeup in NFL commentating. Aikman will make far more than he ever did as an NFL player, with the deal reportedly being comparable to $17.5 million that Tony Romo is getting from CBS.

Al Michaels Speculation Is Swirling On Wednesday Night | The Spun
Now that Al Michaels is leaving NBC, he's drawing interest from both Amazon for Thursday Night Football and from ESPN to pair with Aikman. At least his successor will be an easy pick — Mike Tirico (who called MNF for several years) should take over in a natural promotion.

Joe Buck reportedly "atop ESPN's list" to pair with Troy Aikman | Awful Announcing
Then again, ESPN might make a run at Aikman’s former partner at FOX. Buck would be a tougher get than Michaels, however, because he's still under contract for one more year and he does the play-by-play for FOX's baseball coverage as well.

With Troy Aikman choosing ESPN, will Amazon target Sean McVay? - ProFootballTalk
Would it be crazy for the head coach of the reigning Super Bowl champs to leave coaching for a broadcasting gig? You bet. But at this point, anything seems possible.

Very hungry bear ‘Hank the Tank’ is in fact three bears, DNA shows | The Guardian
I’m imagining three smaller bears in a trenchcoat. Maybe they should rename him "Vincent Adultbear" instead.