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ESPN paying NFL insider Adam Schefter ‘around $9 million’ per year under new contract

Matt Johnson
Adam Schefter
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The National Football League is more lucrative than ever with the salaries of the highest paid NFL players skyrocketing. It’s also proven to be a lucrative time for NFL insider Adam Schefter, who landed a massive contract with ESPN.

Schefter, who joined ESPN in 2009, became a free agent this offseason when his contract expired. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post detailed the frenzy of suitors who pursued Schefter this offseason and his ultimate decision to remain at ESPN.

It comes at a time when the network is dedicating more money than ever before to its coverage of pro football. ESPN is paying Peyton and Eli Manning approximately $12-$18 million annually to continue hosting the ManninCast on ESPN2.

Even more money is being devoted to improving the primary “Monday Night Football” broadcast. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman left Fox this offseason to become the broadcasters for NFL games on Monday night.

With Aikman receiving a five-year deal worth $92.5 million and Buck signing a five-year deal worth more than $60 million, ESPN will be paying out $30-plus million each season to its MNF broadcasting duo. The spending will go beyond just the broadcast booth.

According to the New York Post, Schefter’s new deal with ESPN is worth approximately $9 million per season. There are also additional avenues for Schefter to increase his salary.

As part of his new contract, Schefter controls his podcasting and gambling rights. It means Schefter could earn more than $10 million per year in the future whenever he reaches terms on deals for gambling and for his weekly”The Adam Schefter Podcast” show.

While it’s not a surprise that ESPN retained Schefter, the past few months have also hurt his reputation.

Adam Schefter’s Twitter history and ‘Mr. Editor’ past

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Even before joining ESPN, Adam Schefter was recognized as the top NFL insider in a competitive field. He routinely broke some of the biggest NFL news, earning him a spot at NFL Network and then ESPN. However, recent scandals and tweets have often led to criticism on social media and from peers.

In 2015, ESPN had to reach a settlement with Jason Pierre-Paul after Schefter publicly shared his leaked medical information following the fireworks accident on July 4.

While leaked emails from the NFL investigation into the Washington Commanders had the biggest fallout for Jon Gruden, Schefter was also involved. The Los Angeles Times detailed in July 2021 that Schefter previously sent an unpublished draft of a pending story on the NFL lockout to then Washington president Bruce Allen.

“Please let me know if you see anything that should be added, changed, tweaked. Thanks, Mr. Editor, for that and the trust. Plan to file this to espn about 6 am ….”

Adam Schefter’s email to then Washington Commanders team president Bruce Allen

Reporters will sometimes send a portion of a story about a subject prior to publishing to provide the source with a chance to provide comment that would be included in the story. Schefter, a University of Michigan and Northwestern University alum, sent his entire story to Allen for tweaking and approval.

Schefter also faced criticism during the 2021 NFL season and 2022 offseason for tweets about Dalvin Cook and Deshaun Watson. When a grand jury declined to indict Watson on criminal charges alleging sexual misconduct, the tone of Schefter’s wording Watson’s side of the story is the truth. He tweeted out an apology two hours later.

In November 2021, Schefter tweeted that Dalvin Cook was the victim of domestic abuse and extortion with Cook’s agent used as the source. Less than an hour later, the Star Tribune reported that Cook faced a lawsuit alleging assault, battery and false imprisonment. Schefter later apologized on ESPN for not reaching out to Cook’s alleged victim.

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Most recently, Schefter received an overwhelming backlash for his breaking news regarding the tragic death of Dwayne Haskins. In a since-deleted Tweet, ESPN’s top NFL insider phrased the announcement in a way that highlighted Haskins was a struggling quarterback.

“Dwayne Haskins, a standout at Ohio State before struggling to catch on with Washington and Pittsburgh, died this morning when he got hit by a car in South Florida, per his agent Cedric Saunders.”

Adam Schefter tweet reporting the death of Dwayne Haskins

Some of the strongest criticisms came from active NFL players, all of them frustrated over the insensitivity of the tweet.

Despite it all, Schefter remains one of the go-to insiders in a sport with a popularity that keeps skyrocketing. Clearly, ESPN is focused on that aspect and Schefter’s net value is worth $9 million per year to the company.