ESPN all but confirmed that timeline to me this week.
The big story at the time of his hiring was the Bill Simmons vs. Rick Reilly “Top Dog” billing, given the fact that Reilly was now ESPN’s highest-paid writer, but Simmons was the website’s most valuable commodity.
Simmons has soared at ESPN in the last five years: He started Grantland, which has built an impressive staff that regularly churns out quality sports reading material, and recently, he ascended to NBA Countdown, meaning he’s on TV regularly.
What has Reilly done? Based on his performance for the first 4.5 years of his deal, do you think he’ll be back? You can tell he’s pushing hard this year (his “mention I had this first on twitter” moment during after Monday Night Football being the latest example) to prove he’s worth another big money deal. Breaking news is a great way to get “in the discussion” … but he fumbled badly when jumping into that realm during last November’s UCLA coaching search.
A guess – with a lot of time left – $500k a year for two years?