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Clay Travis: I Hope Stephen A. Smith Gets Paid; ‘Your Boy Will Be a Free Agent Again and I Want to Get Paid’

Reports surfaced last week that negotiations between ESPN and representatives for Stephen A. Smith had begun. John Ourand of Puck reported the first offer was for 5 years and $90 million, or $18 million per year. Many in media have weighed in on the report and the numbers, including OutKick’s Clay Travis who has selfish reasons he would like to see Smith get as much money as possible. He says with his deal up in less than two years, this could impact his next contract.

“Stephen A. Smith…offered 5 years, $90 million by ESPN, that’s an average of $18 million per year, ESPN says that would make him the highest paid employee at the network,” Travis said on OutKick The Show with Clay Travis, before he played a clip of him interviewing Smith a few months ago.

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“Is it important to you…and I always say I root for everybody in media to make more money on each new contract, just like every starting quarterback in the NFL roots for the guy whose contract is up to make more,” Travis said. “Heck, I hope you get unbelievable numbers…Is it important to you based on the way the first time ended at ESPN that you are the highest paid person on ESPN given the work you’re doing for them? Do you think that should be the case?”

“Yes,” Smith quickly said. “I’m not stuttering. Hell yes. I’ve mastered my own business. In the world of sports television, Clay Travis, I’ve been number one for twelve years…not only have I been number one every year I’ve been number one every week and every month of every year for the last twelve years. You don’t get to say that about too many people…I am so honored to have the colleagues I have…I’m the one that’s been No. 1 and at the end of the day, it would be nice one day for this man to stand before everyone and be like, ‘I’m No. 1 and this says I’m No. 1.”

Travis continued asking, “Will $18 million dollars get it done? I don’t think so. I think Stephen A. wants around $30 million a year, that is my guess. Will he get it? We’ll see.

“People say what do you think about stuff like that? I believe a rising tide lifts all boats. I want Pat McAfee, I want Stephen A., I want Kirk Herbstreit, I want Tony Romo, I want Tom Brady, Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless. Anybody that is in daily media, I want to be paid as much as possible. By the way that includes Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow.

“Everybody out there, I want paid as much money as possible. I’m in favor of talent. I want talent to get rich and I want those dollars to go up as high as possible. Because unlike the WNBA, I believe a rising tide lifts all boats. I ain’t looking around over my shoulder and saying, ‘oh he got that and now I can’t get what I want.’ No, I’m not a zero-sum guy. I want everybody paid as much money as they possibly can be. And if you’re showing up and you’re putting in multiple hours of live radio and live TV…live digital shows, however you are getting your message out there. Joe Rogan. Bill Simmons.

“I want all of you making as much money as you possibly can, because in about a year and a half, two years…your boy will be a free agent again and I want to get paid. I’m in favor of everybody, I’m a capitalist, I want everybody to make as much money as possible.”

Travis said he looks at these situations like quarterbacks in the NFL. When one gets the new highest paying contract for a quarterback, a new bar is set.

“You know how every time somebodies contract comes up a quarterback gets a new deal and becomes the highest paid, and they keep accelerating what the next guy is going to get. That is to me what talent should do in media. I don’t begrudge anybody who makes money. You’re working hard if you’re making the kind of money these guys are making, the kind of money I am making frankly. And I want everybody to keep raising the bar, so I want Stephen A. to raise the bar as high as he can.”

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