Peyton Manning is not hurting for money. Quite the opposite. After ending his (fittingly) 18-year NFL career as a Colt and a Bronco on this day in 2016, Forbeslisted his on-field earnings at $250 million and his endorsement haul at another $150 million, making him the richest football player in the history of the game.
And though he hasn't had a job in two years, he hasn't stopped working. Manning has sold his stake in 31 Denver-area Papa John's franchises, he remains a corporate pitchman for Nationwide Insurance, and he played the part of Guapo in the Academy Award-nominated animated film "Ferdinand," staring John Cena, in 2017.
The business of Peyton Manning is booming, and two networks are reportedly dying to get into the action.
First, ESPN lost its star employee when Jon Gruden left for the Oakland Raiders, and the Worldwide Leader is exploring all available options to fill arguably the most important chair at the network. Second, Fox has won the bidding on a 5-year contract for Thursday Night Football rights, but unlike CBS and NBC, the network will not use its top analyst for the games. Fox wants to use Troy Aikman on its Thursday Night pre-game show but have someone else provide color for the games.
And both networks are chasing Manning for the roles, according to Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News.
McCarthy reports that both networks are willing to pay Manning $10 million a year, which would far outpace Gruden's industry-leading salary of a reported $6.5 million a year.
It's plain to see why both networks covet Manning. If not the most revered, he's the most familiar football name in the country, and Tony Romo's instant success with CBS showed prior experience is not a requirement for succeeding on television.
So, will Manning take either network up on their offer? It's impossible to say. He's expressed interest in a John Elway-with-the-Broncos type of role as a team president with his fingers in football operations, and the ball is in his court here. There are four networks that air NFL games and only one Peyton Manning. The longer he waits, the higher his price tag is likely to go.