CBS has signed Ian Eagle to a long-term deal because when you have Ian Eagle under contract, you move heaven and Earth to make sure he remains under contract. He is a versatile top-tier talent with at least two more decades in the tank if he wishes to spend them calling sporting events. And who wouldn't want to keep doing that? Sports are great. Television is great. Combining them was so smart. Thank you, NBC, for trying that out in 1939.
In his news-breaking post for the New York Post, Andrew Marchand provided the fuller context of the extension, which was formed in the shadow of Jim Nantz. Who, like all of us, would like to triple his salary. And by all indications, CBS has made a heady play all-around.
Eagle has a full portfolio, calling the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA on TNT, and college hoops in addition to the NFL. If Nantz were to leave for any reason — and that would most likely be Disney taking a huge swing on Monday Night Football and a future Super Bowl — Eagle could focus his efforts on the Final Four and the premier professional game of the weekend.
Which is a pretty damn nice backup plan. In an ideal world, CBS uses its new leverage to negotiate a more network-friendly deal with Nantz and goes forward with Eagle as the No. 2 option. Which, of course, is an incredible place to be as he's every bit the top-booth guy any media outlet would love to send out there.
Working with the level of information I've been given access to, it's tough to imagine Nantz ever departing from the place that affords him the opportunity to lead golf coverage — particularly from Augusta. So Eagle will remain a terrific No. 2 who is really more a No. 1b. The type of win-win-win situation that Michael Scott was trying to figure out in real time.
There's an argument to be made that Eagle, not Nantz, is CBS' most valuable talent. Both for what he brings to the table and how he changes upcoming negotiations as the future is plotted out. Getting ink on paper here is a savvy decision.