Whole NFL world is waiting on Kirk Cousins to make decision
The Jets could turn back to Josh McCown, last year’s starter, if Cousins goes elsewhere. They also could then draft a quarterback in the first round and have McCown serve as a mentor to the rookie and a starter until that player is ready.
Reconciling with NFL executives became even more urgent when it was announced FOX and the NFL Network were joining forces in covering the NFL draft. That news came the same day Pitaro grabbed the reins, and it didn’t sit well with ESPN that the league had tabbed one of the network’s biggest competitors to air its own show around the draft, for which the Worlwide Leader has been the go-to source for decades.
The FOX deal could be seen as revenge by the NFL for ESPN dipping its toes into the myriad controversies that marked last season the league’s handling of national anthem protests, increasing connections between football and traumatic brain injuries and criticism surrounding commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension, among others.
It’s not the first time ESPN has had to choose one objective (adhering to journalist expectations) over another (appeasing the NFL over their $1.9 billion-a-year deal), and consequentially upset one or more parties.
The piece was just one domino in a year full of them, a shaky situation only made worse by Skipper’s lack of connection with NFL executives, according to the report. Unlike his predecessors, Skipper apparently did not maintain the relationships necessary, such as with Goodell and executive vice president of media Brian Rolapp, to ensure fruitful business decisions down the road.
Enter Pitaro, whose biggest decision might be how ESPN moves forward with the NFL after their 10-year, $15.2 billion deal expires in 2021. While ESPN pays more for NFL rights than any other network, it is on the verge of losing its one playoff game to FOX, making an already grim-looking future a point of frustration among ESPN employees who feel they’re not getting the NFL access they deserve.
And now the NFL world waits.