Matt Ryan In, Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms Out in CBS 'NFL Today' Shakeup

A one-for-two former quarterback deal.
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CBS is shuffling its NFL Today pregame show with a move involving three former quarterback as Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason are out and Matt Ryan is in, per a report from The Athletic's Andrew Marchand. Esiason addressed the move during his morning radio show while also revealing that he's signed an extension with WFAN. Ryan, who just formally retired, will join James Brown, Nate Burleson and Bill Cowher, with J.J. Watt appearing on a part-time basis. Burleson and Cowher also had expiring contracts, per the report, meaning that CBS faced quite a few decisions headed into 2024.

Esiason spent 22 years at CBS and Simms had been there for 26. So those headlines about this being a "shakeup" or a "changing of the guard" are warranted. Look to either flank of James Brown and you'll see a cast that's significantly younger this year. If the network is lucky they can get the same type of continuity and go on another decades-long run built in part on familiarity.

At the same time, it's worth wondering what impact, if any, swapping two former signalcallers for a Matt Ryan really has. If you meet a person in the real world who is now more apt to tune into this pregame show to see Matty Ice, please direct them our way because it's a mind that must be studied.

That said, this seems like a great move for Ryan and Watt and any other player who wants to embark on a second act in the media. They seem to exist in a special atmosphere, are comfort food, and aren't going anywhere.