Polarizing ESPN Star Gets Massive Contract Offer to Stay With Network

ESPN is working hard to keep Stephen A. Smith on board. They’ve reportedly offered a huge $90 million contract over five years, according to Puck News.

Smith, a mainstay on "First Take," has his contract expiring in 2025. ESPN wants to make him the highest-paid talent on their team, as per reports.

The deal translates to $18 million annually. But Puck News says Smith wants $7 million more per year for his next deal.

Journalist James Andrew Miller talked about this on the "SI Media with Jimmy Traina" podcast. Miller mentioned Smith is aiming for a "big, big number" in his new contract.

"I think there have been preliminary talks already that have started," Miller said. "He’s looking for a big, big number. And I also feel, given the content world, he doesn’t even have to have another offer from one entity for that big number.

"I think what ESPN is up against is the possibility that WME could go out and create an architecture where Stephen A. has a podcast, a this, a deal with this, a deal with that, whatever, and at the end of the day, it’s $20 million a year."

In recent years, ESPN has been securing deals with top talent. Pat McAfee reportedly signed a five-year, $85 million deal for his show and other roles.

For the 2022 NFL season, ESPN brought in Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for "Monday Night Football." Aikman’s deal is said to be similar to Smith’s potential contract, according to the New York Post.

Smith has been a fixture at ESPN since 2003. He joined while also being the Philadelphia Inquirer’s sports columnist from 1994-2010.

His fiery takes on "First Take" with Skip Bayless boosted the show’s popularity. Now, he’s the main voice on the show and hosts his podcast, "The Stephen A. Smith Show," discussing topics beyond sports.

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