CBS has opted to move on without the services of Dan Fouts, per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. Fouts served in the network's No. 2 booth next to Ian Eagle, meaning a very attractive position just opened up. With the addition of another playoff game this season, putting together the best possible secondary team on the big stage has never been more important.
Marchand reports that CBS is trying to lure Charles Davis away from Fox, which is also keen on keeping him. Trent Green is believed to be the leading in-house candidate for promotion. Rich Gannon, James Lofton and Adam Archuleta, as well as Jay Feely would be longer and long shots, respectively.
Fouts, who began working as an analyst soon after retiring, has been a staple for over three decades. He was a bit of a throwback to a different time and stood out as such. His chemistry with Eagle was good, though, and his ability to interject levity was appreciated.
What's interesting here is the interconnectivity between CBS and Fox. Greg Olsen has emerged as a can't-miss prospect at the latter and has more upside and longevity than Davis. Will that cause the longtime analyst, now being wined and dined from two sides, to see the handwriting on the wall and jump to a different network?
Perhaps it's reductive to say everything can be run through the Tony Romo lens, but his influence is significant in shaping a 1-2 punch. CBS already has that youthful exuberance and may want to go with something different in the more stately Davis or Gannon. Fox needs to weigh who to play off Kevin Burkhardt to complement Troy Aikman's steady presence in the top booth.
Though it does seem to be a fairly straightforward path from here, there are a few wild cards to keep an eye on should either network want to totally go off the board. Jay Cutler would be an outside-the-box hire and has had conversations with networks. Nate Burleson and Peter Schrager have roles that could, conceivably, include routine booth work. Both have plenty of years ahead of them.
How things shake out will tell us a lot about what each network wants to build and for how long.