According to Michael McCarthy of Sporting News, both ESPN and Fox Sports "are so hungry for Manning to call their respective Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football games that they're willing to pay him up to $10 million annually."
As of 2015, according to author Jim Miller, former MNF color analyst and current Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was ESPN's highest-paid personality at $6.5 million each year, per McCarthy. But Manning's value is greater due to his wide appeal amongst football fans.
"Peyton Manning is Tony Romo with a Super Bowl ring," a source told McCarthy. "This is a battle for the Midwest. He's super-popular in the Midwest. He's got this 'Aw Shucks' thing down pat. The Mannings are the first family of football."
Romo was widely lauded in his debut season broadcasting NFL games for CBS Sports, offering an insider's perspective on team schemes and often correctly predicting what plays an offense was about to run based on formations and tendencies.
Manning, meanwhile, was considered the game's most cerebral quarterback, essentially serving as an on-field offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos during a career that will make him a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection. He's also appeared to be comfortable on camera, appearing on Saturday Night Live and a number of commercials.
Manning's aspirations may extend beyond the broadcast booth, however. Per McCarthy, "Manning also is interested in a John Elway/Derek Jeter-type role in which he runs/owns a sports franchise."
We haven't seen the last of Manning, in other words. But how he returns to the game of football remains unknown.