Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but now he is a hot target for sports networks who are willing to offer him the largest contract a color commentator has ever received.
Both ESPN and Fox are willing to offer Manning upwards of $10 million a year to be the color commentator on their “Monday Night Football” and “Thursday Night Football,” respectively.
This potential contract falls just short of doubling Jon Gruden’s contract where he earned $6.5 million a year as a color commentator for ESPN, making him the highest paid employee at ESPN before he left to coach the Oakland Raiders, according to author Jim Miller.
Why such a large contract?
The NFL’s TV ratings dropped 9.7 percent in 2017 and 8 percent the year prior while losing 25 percent of their viewership over this time period. The hope is that Manning will be able to bring these viewers back to watching football.
With Manning, it’s more than just the knowledge of football that he brings to the broadcast, it’s more so the person that he is. Over his 18 years in the NFL, Manning was one of the most respected players in the game while never having any off the field issues. He also brings a personality to the broadcast that should attract more viewers.
Sportscaster Jim Nantz, who has been a friend of Manning for years, has a unique perspective on Manning’s potential jump from former NFL star to color commentator. Nantz was instrumental in helping former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo get acclimated to the the sports media industry when he became a color commentator for CBS last year.
“There are so many things that Peyton can do with his life. I’m sure that’s what he’s weighing right now,” Nantz said. “I believe that he would be capable, if the opportunity came along and he wanted to run an NFL franchise like John Elway, if that was available to him, I think there would be interest, and I think he would be very good at it.
“If Peyton wanted to get into the television business, he’s going to work like everything else he does. He will think everything through, and outwork everyone, and he will be good at it. But that’s something he has to weigh right now. I have no insight or knowledge of where that is. I wish him well.”
Right now, this is all speculation and it’s possible that Manning may not even accept a deal with either network. However, if all the reports are true, it would be quite the offer to turn down.