Report: Maria Taylor’s Future at ESPN “In Limbo” After She Turned Down Millions in Raise

Taylor is reportedly looking for “Stephen A. Smith money," which would be near $8 million annually

ESPN analyst Maria Taylor
ESPN analyst Maria Taylor during the Allstate Sugar Bowl College Football Playoff Semifinal.
Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty

NBA Countdown host and college football broadcast star Maria Taylor’s future at ESPN is “in limbo” after she turned down millions from The Worldwide Leader and is now being asked to take less, according to The New York Post.

Taylor, who is making around $1 million now and has an expiring contract that will be up this month, turned down a deal that could have paid her as much as $5 million because she was looking for “Stephen A. Smith money” (about $8 million annually).

The raise ESPN offered Taylor is reportedly no longer on the table as the network has offered a number of its top earners to take pay cuts. Some have accepted the reduction in salary. Others, like Kenny Mayne, have declined.

ESPN wants to keep the 34-year-old, as she is internally viewed as the “next Robin Roberts,” and Taylor could potentially start to appear on ABC’s Good Morning America if a new deal is worked out. But, $5 million is no longer being offered, and Taylor is being asked to take somewhere in the $2-$3 million range.

Following Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals last night, which saw the Phoenix Suns down the LA Clippers to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1990s, Jalen Rose alluded to the contract status of his ESPN teammate.

While discussing Clippers guard Reggie Jackson‘s strong postseason play and the potential for him to land a large offseason deal, Jay Williams said “If you’re great at what you do, you deserve the bag.” Rose’s response: “If that’s the case, Maria needs a raise.”

A consummate professional, Taylor continued to talk about Jackson, but Rose kept on. “You do. You got an MVP vote. You got a Heisman vote. The most unique talent in the game,” he said.

Taylor, who joined ESPN as a college analyst and reporter in 2014, is certainly going to be staying the game, but she may be changing teams if her contract isn’t resolved.

“Amazon does like Taylor, according to sources, while NBC could potentially be creative,” per The Post. “Both could have NFL hosting opportunities in the future, though nothing is currently available and it is unknown if there are any advanced talks. At a time when ESPN is cutting salaries and letting on-air people go, it is offering her a raise. Will it be enough, especially if it continues to be less than what was once on the table?”

With Taylor’s contract set to expire on July 20, we’ll be finding out soon enough.

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