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#pounditWednesday, September 22, 2021

Here is how much Stephen A. Smith reportedly gets paid by ESPN

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith is currently the highest-paid employee at ESPN, and reports have claimed Maria Taylor wants to join him. If Taylor is truly seeking to be paid as much as Smith, we may now have a better understanding of her demands.

Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reported on Friday that Smith currently earns $12 million per year at ESPN. That number was confirmed by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, who says Smith has an $8 million salary and $4 million production contract.

Smith signed his five-year, $60 million deal with ESPN in 2019.

Where does that leave Taylor? Marchand reported last month that the “NBA Countdown” host and sideline reporter turned down $5 million per year from ESPN last year. She is said to be seeking “Stephen A. Smith” money, but ESPN has since reduced its offer to between $2 million and $3 million.

Agents representing on-air talent at ESPN are obviously going to start negotiations at Smith’s salary, but that does not mean their clients are going to get it. Smith is arguably ESPN’s biggest draw and serves in numerous roles. It feels like he is on the air constantly.

Taylor may threaten to leave ESPN, especially in the wake of the Rachel Nichols controversy. If she refuses to take significantly less money than Smith, ESPN will likely let her walk.

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