Twenty years ago, as a rookie quarterback in the NFL, Peyton Manning signed a contract that paid him $8 million per year. Soon, he could be making 25 percent more than that as a rookie broadcaster.
Michael McCarthy of SportingNews.com reports that ESPN and FOX are prepared to pay Manning up to $10 million per year to work as the primary analyst on Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football.
For ESPN, an eight-figure salary would represent a $3.5 million increase over the annual compensation previously paid to Jon Gruden, who left broadcasting to reportedly make $10 million per year as coach of the Raiders.
The competition between ESPN and FOX for Manning’s services has created a sense of inevitability that he’ll take a TV job. He has said nothing to give credence to this, apart from driving the pace car at the Daytona 500, a NASCAR race televised by FOX.
Manning is widely regarded as a natural at television, combining an ability to speak extemporaneously in a naturally funny, self-aware way with a relentless work ethic that will ensure the highest level of preparation.
If the money is equal, FOX arguably would provide the better opportunity, with a bigger audience and a schedule that would allow Manning to spend weekends at home. He also could, in theory, join the Joe Buck/Troy Aikman team for postseason games or the Super Bowl.