It seems like Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless could part ways this summer as the former’s contract is set to expire with Fox Sports, making him a TV free agent, and a very interesting one. The former NFL player-turned-analyst has made himself a known name in his second job thanks to his takes, especially those about LeBron James.
He has created a terrific tandem with Bayless, engaging in heated debates and doing entertaining stuff to make each other pay for their comments. If you watch FS1’s “Undisputed,” you know that the show gets a lot of attention thanks to the exchanges they have. However, things could change in the future, unless Fox makes a big decision and manages to keep the former tight end on board.
Via Front Office Sports:
Fox Sports management has an important strategic decision to make before the next football season — and not just about NFL media rights.
Shannon Sharpe’s current contract expires after July 2021, sources said. The question now is whether Fox will finally compensate the three-time Super Bowl winner similarly to his controversial “Undisputed” co-host Skip Bayless.
Sharpe only earns about half of Bayless’ annual salary, said sources. The Pro Football Hall of Famer makes an estimated $3 million-plus annually vs. around $6 million for Bayless, the reigning enfant terrible of morning sports TV.
Yet FS1 has given Sharpe co-billing with Bayless since day one on “Skip & Shannon: Undisputed.”
At a time when the country is wrestling with racial equality, Fox has an “incredible opportunity to make a statement,” said a source. “Give Shannon Sharpe a contract that is equal pay for equal work.”
Something to have in mind is that with all the things happening in the world right now and not everybody will be able to offer him as much as Bayless earns if he hits free agency.
Unfortunately for Sharpe, he’s entering possible free agency when possible suitors such as ESPN and NBC as well as Fox itself are cutting salaries or hoarding their money to pay for expensive NFL media rights.
If Sharpe does end up leaving Fox, sources peg former ESPNer Emmanuel Acho as a possible sparring partner for Bayless on “Undisputed.”
This will be a very interesting story to follow in the next couple of months. Sharpe has become one of the best analysts out there and he’s ready to take things to the next level. Who will get his talents and how he will handle negotiations? Only time will tell.