As expected, Paul Finebaum has signed a contract extension to remain with ESPN and the SEC Network.

“I’m thrilled to be a member of the ESPN family and look forward to continuing our show on SEC Network,” Finebaum said in a statement. “I consider myself incredibly blessed to do this every day, and I’d like to thank everyone at ESPN, as well as all of our loyal listeners and viewers, for their support.”

While ESPN management has tried to impress upon its talent that no one is irreplaceable… Finebaum is still pretty darn irreplaceable. The simulcast of his weekday radio show eats a ton of innings for the SEC Network, he’s the centerpiece analyst of the network’s College GameDay equivalent, and he appears on a potpourri of studio shows on the Mothership throughout the college football season. He joined the Worldwide Leader ahead of the 2013 football season and has appeared on SEC Network since its 2014 launch.

“Paul is one of the most compelling personalities on SEC Network and ESPN,” ESPN senior VP Stephanie Druley said in a statement. “His passion for the SEC and its fan base is evident every day on The Paul Finebaum Show. Over his years on SEC Network, Paul and his callers have delivered daily with captivating debate and light-hearted humor. We look forward to enjoying The Paul Finebaum Show, and Paul’s varied and valued contributions to our studio show programming, as we head into yet another jam-packed football season.”

The negotiations came down to the eleventh hour, with Fox and its Big Ten Network reportedly among the bidders for the free-agent-to-be. Finebaum’s original deal with ESPN expired at the end of the month.

SEC media days kick off Monday in Atlanta.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.