Tony Romo's days holding the record as the highest-paid NFL analyst in TV history might be numbered. According to Front Office Sports' Michael McCarthy, ESPN is preparing to offer Peyton Manning $18 million to $20 million a year to become the network's top analyst for "Monday Night Football."
Per McCarthy, the 43-year-old Manning and ESPN executives have met over the last few days. Manning already has a prior relationship with them, as he hosted the 30-episode “Peyton’s Places” documentary series on ESPN+.
Earlier Thursday, the New York Post's Andrew Marchand reported that ESPN will also "attempt to acquire" NBC broadcaster Al Michaels for their "Monday Night Football" telecast. Talks between NBC and ESPN "have yet to begin," per Marchand, and Michaels still has two years remaining on his contract.
Romo's $17 million a year agreement last Friday came just days before ESPN had the chance to offer the former Cowboys QB a figure that Marchand "had reason to believe" could have been more than $20 million annually.
ESPN pays the NFL $1.9 billion a year for the rights to air MNF—more than double the $950 million paid by NBC for the higher-rated “Sunday Night Football.”
Joe Tessitore is currently ESPN's play-by-play broadcaster on "Monday Night Football," where he is joined by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Booger McFarland. The two have been in ESPN's booth for each of the last two seasons, but the team has come under frequent public scrutiny.
ESPN's "Monday Night Football" contract is also up after the 2021 season.
McCarthy notes that Manning has turned down the "Monday Night Football" job twice before. Per Front Office Sports, Kurt Warner of NFL Network could be another sought-after broadcaster if Manning decides not to join the network. In addition to his NFL Network duties, Warner is also the analyst for Westwood One's "Monday Night Football" radio broadcasts.