Even five years removed from his playing days, Peyton Manning continues to be a coveted commodity in the NFL media market.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the mighty Amazon could be the next major suitor in the Peyton Manning media sweepstakes. The internet giant is "grappling with the idea" of pursuing the Hall-of-Fame golden goose for the Thursday Night Football commentary box.
Despite the former Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts star purportedly turning down several overtures from the big networks in the recent past, the sheer financial might of Amazon Prime Video and its exclusive TNF rights launching in 2022 could swing the balance.
If Manning is open to the rumored proposals from Amazon, the salary he'd command is expected to be somewhere in the region of the $18 million per year that Tony Romo currently takes home from CBS. In all likelihood, Manning's deal would dwarf Romo's.
Marchand also suggested that veteran play-by-play guy Al Michaels could be paired with Manning through a link-up between Amazon and NBC that would give the previously flagging TNF product a serious injection of star power to lure viewers.
Purportedly, part of Amazon's master plan is to be more creative with how it presents the overall package with more emphasis being put on fan interaction. With gambling no longer being taboo on the NFL landscape, Manning’s universal appeal to both the younger and older audience seems a natural fit with his media savvy being part of the allure for the executives at Amazon.
Just how comfortable Manning would be to give up his relaxed, retired lifestyle is the real rub for Amazon to overcome. Based on past history, it’s not just going to boil down to throwing a blank check at the Hall-of-Famer and telling him to write out his salary, as ESPN has found out to its detriment on multiple occasions.
Manning has stayed close to the game via his Peyton's Places show on ESPN+ and by spending time at the Denver Broncos facilities. Manning has even guided quarterback Drew Lock through some film study this offseason, but diving into the world of NFL commentary and the big media grind would require all of his famous football acumen and a dedication to a new craft.
Whether or not Amazon lands Manning will boil down to much more than dollar bills and will likely be determined more by whether the NFL's only five-time MVP feels ready to make the jump into a more full-time commitment. Should 'The Sheriff' once again rebuff Jeff Bezos' big network money, it might endear him to many fans as equally as climbing behind the microphone would.
Either way, Manning appears to be in a win-win situation.