Notwithstanding the fact that “multiple years” remain on the contract between Phil Simms and CBS, the manner in which the arrival of Tony Romo has been handled suggests that Phil Simms has now become an afterthought.
If, after all, CBS had a clear plan for Simms, the network wouldn’t have pulled the plug on his current assignment with no plan whatsoever for his next one. Which suggests that his next one won’t simply consist of falling back one spot on the depth chart (bumping Dan Fouts out of the No. 2 position, who may then fall to No.3, and so on) but out of the network altogether.
Indeed, with a clear spot open at the pregame desk given the recent departure of Tony Gonzalez, the easiest move for CBS would have been to put Simms in that spot as part of the Romo hire, with Simms given a chance to fashion a quote that makes it all look like something everyone wanted. If Simms were getting that gig, that’s likely what would have happened today. The fact that it didn’t occur already suggests it likely won’t.
By doing it later, CBS will create the impression that: (1) the network didn’t want Simms in his former role; (2) they didn’t care enough about him to craft a new role upon leaving his former one; and (3) they finally found a spot in which to jam him so that they don’t pay him to not work.
The blunt reality is that, if CBS felt strongly about Simms, Simms would still be the No. 1 analyst. At worst, CBS would have landed the plane in a way that resulted in Simms not being thrown under the bus.
The good news for Simms is that during his “multiple years” (i.e., as few as two) under contract with CBS, he will be getting paid. Whether he will be getting on the air, and in what capacity, is a different issue entirely.
Then there’s the possibility that Simms, a type-A former quarterback who surely doesn’t appreciate the public castration he’s currently enduring, will decide to walk away from CBS entirely — or to negotiate a package that pays him less than what he’s still owed while giving him a way to muster some semblance of an upper hand.