Should he want to transition to a career in broadcasting, Peyton Manning will have his pick of destinations.
The New York Post's Andrew Marchand reported Friday that ESPN and Fox are strongly pursuing Manning but that the 14-time Pro Bowler "has been reluctant" to the idea of becoming a television analyst.
According to Marchand, Fox has been interested in hiring Manning dating back to last year, but ESPN appears to be making a stronger push as the network looks for a replacement for Jon Gruden.
James Andrew Miller, who co-authored the ESPN oral history Those Guys Have All the Fun, reported in September 2015 that Gruden had been ESPN's highest-paid employee, with an annual salary of $6.5 million. Gruden left to return to coaching with the Oakland Raiders.
Marchand spoke to a source who said ESPN is prepared to "back up the truck" in terms of paying what it would take to entice Manning to move into broadcasting.
Ultimately, no amount of money may be enough to get Manning to become an on-air analyst. The MMQB's Peter King reported in October "most people in football" believe Manning's future lies in an executive role with an NFL team.
In an interview with King, the legendary quarterback addressed the potential of taking a front office position, similar to how John Elway became the Denver Broncos' general manager.
"It certainly could be a possibility," Manning said. "I know John didn't take his job with the Broncos until he was 50 years old. He had stopped playing for 12 years at that point. … I'm 41 years old and it's my second season out, so people like to make that comparison but it is such an individual thing."
Manning added he "will always be close to the game" whatever the next step is in his career.