Pat McAfee, the former Indianapolis Colts kicker who has become one of the country’s top sports personalities, will reportedly earn around $17 million per year when he jumps from FanDuel to ESPN.

McAfee has agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal to jump over to ESPN, the New York Post reported Wednesday. He and his group that helped build «The Pat McAfee Show» are expected to appear on ESPN’s main channel, ESPN+ and the company’s YouTube channel.

«Interesting number,» McAfee told the outlet. «I’m not talking about the business side of all this, the actual numbers and so on.»


Pat McAfee in 2023

Former NFL player Adam «Pacman» Jones, right, speaks with Pat McAfee in radio line before Super Bowl LVII at the Phoenix Convention Center on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

ESPN declined to comment to the New York Post on the contract numbers. McAfee’s decision to join ESPN was announced at Disney upfronts. He left behind a FanDuel deal that was reportedly worth $120 million. His new deal with ESPN will reportedly allow him to retain control over «every aspect» of his show, but he’ll have to say less of the F-word.

«I’ll pay my people and we’ll produce the entire show,» he told the New York Post. «[ESPN] it will handle much more back-end stuff, while also providing a platform that is unmatched linear with a network of talent that is deep and impressive. Their production assets, league rights capabilities, and access to everything in the world of sports make us incredibly excited about the possibilities and can’t wait to get started this fall. Jimmy and I had a lot of great conversations throughout this whole process…a few zooms, calls (WHADD), texts (WHADD), emails (WHADD). It was a negotiation phase of a couple of months that involved many different factors.

«Obviously the business, the creativity, the future, previous situations for both of us, etc. It’s fun to listen to his vision and listen to him. AWESOME executive. He has always been direct with me, I am grateful for believing in me and in us…»


Pat McAfee in 2020

Pat McAfee interviews Jordan Ta’amu, number 10 of the St. Louis Battlehawks, on the sidelines during an XFL football game against the St. Louis Battlehawks on February 9, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

McAfee reportedly regretted getting the job amid the Disney layoffs. Disney is in the midst of massive cost-cutting measures, and more layoffs are expected to hit ESPN, as well as other arms of the company.

A former ESPN staffer spoke about it in an interview with Front Office Sports.

«Too soon was the reaction I got from some friends. Some who were laid off are still working there until June,» the person said. «You’re dealing with your departure and then you see a big money signing. It’s not anti-McAfee…it’s your ex getting engaged a month after the breakup.»

ESPN’s spending on big names while cutting out smaller ones is one of the unsettling things, according to former ESPN star Howie Schwab, the famous host of «Stump the Schwab.»

«There are some people who are upset. The timing is funny. They’re paying (Troy) Aikman, (Joe) Buck, Stephen A. Smith and McAfee. And then you’re going to fire people? Kind of weird,» he told Front Office Sports.

Pat McAfee at Royal Rumble

Pat McAfee performs before the WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome on January 28, 2023 in San Antonio. (Alex Bierens deHaan/Getty Images)


“Nothing against Pat McAfee. Obviously, he brings Aaron Rodgers to the table. He’s already there because he does College Game Day. They’re looking to hit another home run. In the meantime, his single hitters are going to be laid off.»