Rich Eisen, the face of NFL Network since its founding nearly 20 years ago, is approaching free agency. It’s an open question whether the league’s 24/7 network will be able to retain its first-ever on-air talent moving forward into the 2022 season.
Eisen’s contract expires before the kickoff of the new NFL season, said sources. He was the network’s first talent hire in June 2003, paving the way for the official launch of the league’s 24/7 network in November 2003.
Eisen signed a four-year contract extension with NFL Network in August 2018 that took him through the summer of 2022, according to The Athletic.
With the NFL’s media rights partners signing top announcers to $1 billion in new deals over the last 28 months, most marquee NFL talents are looking for a raise.
The former ESPN anchor is likely no exception given his track record of anchoring practically every program and event in the history of the network.
NFLN would strongly like to retain Eisen, said sources. But money talks these days.
Charles Barkley, a mainstay of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” for over 20 years, is ready to talk terms with LIV Golf.
Troy Aikman and Joe Buck, the face of Fox Sports’ NFL coverage for 20 years, are jumping to ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
And the venerable Al Michaels left NBC Sports to call play-by-play for Amazon Prime Video’s exclusive coverage of “Thursday Night Football” with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.
Meanwhile, Kay Adams, the longtime anchor of NFLN’s critically acclaimed “Good Morning Football,” recently left after a long contract negotiation.
She was succeeded by former CBS Sports sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl.
NFLN declined to comment on Eisen.