Who's the next Romo or Cutler -- in the broadcasting booth?

Could wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald follow up his long career in the NFL with a career in broadcasting? John Paul Filo/Getty Images

After former NFL quarterbacks Tony Romo and Jay Cutler took their talents to the broadcast booth this offseason, the question of who else could join the analyst ranks when his playing career ends immediately came to mind.

NFL Nation reporters pick the players who would provide solid analysis, be critical when needed and bring a personality to the booth:

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West


Buffalo Bills

Lorenzo Alexander, OLB

Known as one of the wise veterans in the Bills' locker room, Alexander took part in a sports radio and journalism bootcamp for NFL players last year at Bowling Green State University. Alexander, 34, was a weekly guest on a Buffalo-area sports radio show last season and often offers keen football insight to reporters. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Michael Thomas, S

Miami's special teams captain is a locker room favorite among his teammates and the media because of his engaging, outgoing personality. The Stanford graduate, who recently received his Masters degree in business from the University of Miami, has a variety of interests off the field. But Thomas could be successful in media if he chooses to go that route after football. -- James Walker

New England Patriots

Devin McCourty, S

The eight-year veteran has been a natural whenever he appears on ESPN, and participates regularly in a weekly television show on Comcast SportsNet in New England. He is intelligent and knows the X's and O's of the game with a quarterback-type perspective, as he is in many ways the quarterback of the team's defense. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Matt Forte, RB

Exploring a possible career in the media, Forte attended the annual NFL broadcasting boot camp this spring. The nine-year veteran doesn't seek the spotlight -- he's soft spoken, not loud -- but he's always insightful when he speaks to reporters. He has spent his entire career in two of the biggest media markets (Chicago and New York), so he has a good feel for the landscape. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Eric Weddle, S

He always provides tremendous insight as well as the big picture to reporters following games. Considered the quarterback of the defense, Weddle not only understands the game but is able to convey his knowledge succinctly, especially when breaking down a pivotal play in the game. The biggest challenge Weddle will face when transitioning from the field to being in front of the camera will involve keeping his beard trimmed every week. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Vincent Rey, LB

Rey may not be a big name, but he's one of the go-to players for reporters because of his unique insight. Rey has a way of providing big picture answers in easy, digestible terms, which would translate well to TV. Two other candidates for this, Andrew Whitworth and Domata Peko, both left the team in the offseason. -- Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

Joe Thomas, OT

This move could and should happen the day after he retires, a la Tony Romo. Thomas' insights into building a team, locker room culture, the setup and design of a play and the role of a coach and quarterback go well inside the game. He also has the humor part down, as he shows on the team website with his regular feature: "The Joe Thomas Hour: The Most Exciting Two Minutes of Your Life." -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cameron Heyward, DE

The Steelers have many candidates to fill this role, but Heyward gets the nod as an insightful lineman who would project well on television. Heyward is pressed for quotes both after games and during the week because of his football insight. He's not afraid to speak his mind, but does so with the right mix of flare and composure. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger might be a booth candidate one day, but I'm not sure he goes that route after his career is over. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans

J.J. Watt, DE

Entering his seventh NFL season, Watt already has set himself up for several gigs after his football career. He has numerous acting roles under his belt, including an appearance as Coach Craig in the movie "Bad Moms." And if he wants a job in the broadcast booth after he retires, I'm sure there will be a line of media companies ready to hire him. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Darius Butler, DB

As talented a quarterback as Andrew Luck is, he's far from a quote machine. Butler doesn't only excel at giving detailed football answers (coach Chuck Pagano describes him as another coach); his personality and knowledge allow him to talk about any subject while also avoiding the typical clich├ęs you hear from athletes. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Chad Henne, QB

Henne has a good sense of humor and has always provided solid insight and analysis in the locker room. He may not be as effusive or lively on television as other players, but he'll put in the work and break things down clearly. Think Steve Beuerlein's style. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Taylor Lewan, LT

Outspoken and funny, Lewan might feel comfortable criticizing his contemporaries sooner than most guys who are new to the TV booth. He's heading into only his fourth season, so it'll be a long wait. -- ESPN.com


Denver Broncos

Emmanuel Sanders, WR

The Broncos have several players with the wit, presence and ability to dissect the game in a digestible fashion, including cornerback Chris Harris Jr., running back C.J. Anderson, tackle Menelik Watson, linebacker Brandon Marshall and linebacker Von Miller. Sanders, though, already has done a weekly show on the local level and clearly has some post-football aspirations in the broadcast booth. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Chris Conley, WR

Conley is among the most thoughtful Chiefs players. He'll do well as the spokesperson of sorts for the Kansas City wide receivers now that Jeremy Maclin is gone. If the networks are looking for someone colorful and controversial, they could do a lot worse than TE Travis Kelce. -- Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers, QB

With his aw-shucks demeanor and humble approach to dealing with reporters, Rivers would be a natural in the broadcast booth. The 14-year pro also has a photographic memory and an ability to describe the complexities of football in a simple way that would endear him to viewers. However, Rivers maintains his true calling is following in the footsteps of his father, Steve Rivers, and becoming a high school football coach when his playing career is over. -- Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr, QB

If Carr's biggest perceived sin is telling the people what he thinks they want to hear rather than what they want to know, well then, step right into the broadcast booth. Being a quarterback already gives him a leg up on breaking down a game, and he has shown he has a gift for gab in his weekly media sessions. Besides, as his star continues to rise as one of the top young QBs in the league, he has learned what not to do by watching his older brother David -- a former No. 1 overall pick of the Texans -- struggle early in his career. Then again, the elder Carr did not have an offensive line like his younger brother does in Oakland. And now, David has found a calling with the NFL Network. Might Derek follow David into another career field? -- Paul Gutierrez


Dallas Cowboys

Jason Witten, TE

He will have plenty of options whenever he decides to retire -- either in the broadcasting booth or in coaching. He knows the game from all angles, offensively and defensively, which is why he could be a terrific head coach one day. Given his involvement in the running game and passing game as a tight end, Witten has a unique understanding of football's intricacies. He has been a go-to guy in the locker room for years because of his ability to break down the X's and O's in an easy manner, as well as understanding the pulse of the team. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Brandon Marshall, WR

Heck, he already has started his broadcasting career. Marshall was a host on "Inside the NFL" the past few years. And he was really good at it. When you talk with Marshall he knows the deal. His NFL career is almost over. He admits that. His careers post-football include broadcasting. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Malcolm Jenkins, S

Jenkins has a future in broadcasting if that's the route he decides to go. He has been working on his craft, too, with appearances on ESPN and elsewhere. The proud owner of a designer men's suit store and bow tie line, Jenkins certainly has the wardrobe for television. All the ingredients are there; it's just a matter of whether he wants to delve into the media world along with all his other passions. -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

Will Blackmon, S

I know: What about Josh Norman? Yeah, he'd be excellent because he's unafraid to criticize and he loves watching film. DeAngelo Hall would be good, too. But Blackmon is one of the smarter players in the locker room, communicates well -- two necessary TV traits -- and has long studied game tape for positions other than his own (he also played corner). He has experience on offense (back in college) and has an excellent memory, which helps provide context relating to current players or situations. Blackmon has talked about wanting to be a general manager one day, which is why he studies the way he does. Those habits would translate well to TV. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Kyle Long, G

Long is the obvious answer. The three-time Pro Bowler is one of best quotes on the team, and routinely draws a large crowd whenever he speaks in front of his locker. Long is outgoing and personable, and the most active player on the team when it comes to social media. Plus, Long's father, Howie, is a Hall of Famer and longtime NFL studio analyst for Fox. It seems likely the younger Long follows in his father's footsteps after his playing career is over. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Ameer Abdullah, RB

He's a long way away from getting into the broadcast booth, but the third-year pro got some work in as an analyst on the Big Ten Network during the Nebraska spring game this season. He's intelligent, and is not afraid to voice his opinion and be critical when necessary. Detroit has a few players who could end up in the booth when their careers conclude if they wished to, including OL T.J. Lang and WR Golden Tate, but Abdullah has a chance to be a future media star if he works at it. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Martellus Bennett, TE

He'd have to clean up his language -- he admitted "I like to swear" -- but there's no one more outgoing or willing to share his opinion or a story than Bennett. In his short time in Green Bay, he already has taken time to get to know members of the media and has shown a penchant for enjoying a good back-and-forth conversation. That would play well on a national stage. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Terence Newman, CB

He's a few months away from his 39th birthday, yet he's still an effective NFL corner. Newman is a wellspring of knowledge about the game, and the thoughtful answers he gives about the inner workings of the NFL could make for a refreshing addition to a broadcast crew. That is, if the 15-year veteran is interested in pursuing a TV career once he's done playing. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan, QB

Maybe he's not bubbling over with jokes and witty comebacks, but that shouldn't keep Ryan from taking a serious look at broadcasting -- if he so desires. Jay Cutler landed a television job and lacks personality. As a quarterback and a guy who has played under four offensive coordinators, Ryan certainly has a broad knowledge of the game. The 32-year-old has made some studio appearances already and seemed pretty comfortable with it. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen, TE

He has the look, the vocabulary and the personality to be a star in the booth just as he has been on the field. He already has worked as an analyst for the NFL Network and other NFL affiliates. While he has no plans to retire from football anytime soon, one of his goals after football involves getting into broadcasting. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Cameron Jordan, DE, and Mark Ingram, RB

I'm choosing these guys as a duo, because they've become close friends since being drafted in the first round together in 2011. They also have two of the most dynamic personalities on the team -- as was evidenced in their charity lip-sync battle this offseason. Jordan has begun to do a lot of media appearances in his spare time, but perhaps they'll wind up becoming the next generation's Mike & Mike. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Clinton McDonald, DT

He recently attended the NFL's annual broadcasting bootcamp, along with 22 other current and former players. That program has opened doors for former Bucs-turned-broadcasters such as Booger McFarland and Anthony Becht, and it could do the same for McDonald, who communicates well, has a very warm quality to his voice and is very approachable. He offers astute observations after games and can break them down in laymen's terms, which is critical to be an effective analyst. -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald, WR

He has plenty of institutional memory that bodes well for a potential career as a studio analyst. He's good, if not great, in front of the camera. He knows what to say and how to say it. And he has a (multi) million dollar smile. He'll be the total package for whatever network lands him. The only question with Fitzgerald is whether he wants to join the media after he retires. What would make Fitzgerald successful as a broadcaster is his ability to criticize when the time is right. Throughout his time in Arizona, if he feels passionately about something, he'll make his feelings known. That'll translate well to TV. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Johnny Hekker, P

The Rams' three-time Pro Bowl punter is the best talker on the team and already has experience in this realm, having hosted a weekly show on the Rams' radio affiliate cleverly named "What the Hekk." Rams senior director of communications Artis Twyman was asked about the best broadcasting candidate on his team and instantly thought of Hekker. "He feels comfortable doing something like that," Twyman said. He's knowledgeable about football; he's knowledgeable about worldly things. Great personality, great conversationalist, and so I think that will come across. If he does TV or radio, I think he'll do a good job with either one of those." -- Alden Gonzalez

San Francisco 49ers

Tim Hightower, RB

Hightower hasn't been in the Bay Area long, but he already has shown himself to be the insightful, thoughtful player that media outlets raved about during his time in Arizona and New Orleans. Upon his arrival in San Francisco, Hightower showed historical awareness in declining Frank Gore's jersey number, and coach Kyle Shanahan has discussed the veteran leadership and football IQ that made Hightower desirable as a free agent. Combining all of that with his story of perseverance (injuries kept him out of the league for almost four years in the middle of his career) and you have the recipe for a good broadcaster with a unique perspective. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Doug Baldwin, WR

There are plenty of options on the Seahawks' roster. Richard Sherman has said he'd be interested in doing some media after his playing days are over. And Michael Bennett is entertaining every time he stands behind a microphone. But Baldwin would be the best bet. He knows the offensive side of the ball well and has proved to be a master at deciphering defensive coverages. Baldwin speaks honestly, isn't afraid to be controversial and would take a broadcasting job seriously. He could have a nice on-air career after his playing days are over if he wants to go that route. -- Sheil Kapadia