Danny Kanell November turtleneck

Yesterday ESPN laid off dozens and dozens of prominent, well-known personalities. It was a sad and unfortunate day for the industry because the reality is that these aren’t just lost jobs at ESPN, but lost jobs for the entirety of sports media. ESPN is the ultimate goal for many people who work in sports media and with the cuts taking place there, it means that there are less jobs to go around for everyone.

The realities of ESPN’s economics, and the economics of the industry, meant that ESPN felt they were forced to let go some supremely talented people yesterday. We saw ESPN part ways with a number of people who have been instrumental to their success for well over a decade, people who were at the very top of their profession in a certain area, and people who were household names.

Hopefully, everyone who was caught in the most recent wave of layoffs at ESPN will be able to land on their feet and get a new job somewhere. And hopefully the industry still has room for everyone involved with the sports media world changing so rapidly.

Today, we’ve identified 10 people who are now former ESPN employees who certainly deserve to be picked up elsewhere and could be a home run addition for another sports media company. This list isn’t exhaustive by any means and there are many more names that could be added, these are just our choices for some obvious fits that stand out for what could be next.

Danny Kanell – Fox Sports

Kanell was perhaps the most surprising name in the ESPN layoffs because he seems to check every box that ESPN would want in an on-air personality. He was promoted to be one of their main studio analysts with Joey Galloway and he climbed all the way up the ladder on the radio side to hosting a weekday afternoon show with Ryen Russillo. On top of that, while Kanell has some really good insights, he was also known to poke the bear and deliver some controversial takes that would draw a reaction from listeners and viewers. A multi-platform personality with strong opinions would seem to be everything ESPN is looking for these days.

The obvious fit for Kanell is at Fox Sports, who are certainly not shy about hiring opinion makers and have a growing depth of college football rights. Kanell could immediately step in as one of the network’s top analysts in the studio and can be just as valuable at Fox Sports Radio as either a fill-in host or linking up with an already existing show. Whatever is next, Kanell shouldn’t be on the sidelines long.

Ed Werder – The MMQB

Veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder was one of the first to reveal his fate on social media. As someone who has spent years covering the NFL, he’d be a valuable addition to anyone who would pick him up, either as a writer or as a television reporter. One outlet that could make sense is The MMQB over at Sports Illustrated. Peter King singled out Werder for praise amidst ESPN’s layoffs.

Werder would bring a ton of name recognition to The MMQB and increase the outlet’s reputation as a go-to source for football news and insights from some of the sport’s top insiders.

Doug Glanville – Fox Sports

It was stunning to hear Glanville’s ESPN colleagues talk about his departure during live game coverage as he had not personally revealed he was part of the cuts. ESPN gutted much of their hockey and baseball coverage as part of the massive layoffs and it’s unfortunate Glanville was one of the people let go because he was one of the smartest analysts working at the network. Perhaps because there were so many analysts at ESPN, Glanville didn’t get too much of a chance to shine in a main role. Fox Sports should think about picking him up immediately to be one of their top game analysts after John Smoltz, which would give them a very impressive 1-2 combination.

Jayson Stark – MLB Network

Speaking of ESPN’s baseball coverage, few people personified what the network was able to bring like Jayson Stark. As a writer, reporter, and analyst Stark always had a way of bringing something unique to the table and it’s hard to imagine ESPN’s baseball coverage without him. As someone who is so keyed into the past, present and future of the game MLB Network should have already reached out to him. He would be a perfect fit for their litany of programming and could contribute in a number of different ways, whether that be hosting historical or countdown shows, as a studio analyst, or as a reporter.

Dr. Jerry Punch – NBC Sports

It was sad to see Dr. Jerry Punch’s name in the list of ESPN layoffs because he’s been with the network for so long covering NASCAR and college football and seemingly doing it all. Punch has been a pit reporter and lead play-by-play man for NASCAR as well as a sideline reporter and play-by-play man for college football. He had been with the network in some capacity for over 30 years. He would be an excellent addition to NBC’s NASCAR coverage, either in the studio or as a pit reporter.

Trent Dilfer – CBS/Showtime

Another shock inclusion in the layoffs was Trent Dilfer, who ESPN invested a lot of time and effort into grooming as one of their top NFL analysts. Dilfer called Monday Night Football with Chris Berman, was featured on Countdown and The Blitz, and seemed well-positioned for the future in Bristol. Especially after a contract dilemma that eventually saw him stay at ESPN, he would seem like a big name that would be safe. Not so.

Dilfer will be picked up by an outlet that covers the NFL and CBS makes a lot of sense. Dilfer can work in the studio for CBS or CBS Sports Network (he could add a lot of name value to That Other Pregame Show or NFL Monday QB) and could possibly be added to Inside the NFL. The NFL Network could also be a possibility.

Jaymee Sire & Jade McCarthy – NFL Network

ESPN also let go multiple SportsCenter anchors including Jade McCarthy, Jaymee Sire, and Jay Crawford. One of the difficult realities about these layoffs is that there aren’t many places doing highlights anymore so it might be hard for anchors to find a spot at a national outlet. Perhaps one of the league networks could be a fit as it’s hard to see FS1, NBC, or CBS come calling for studio hosts and highlight anchors. However, one of the league networks could be a fit for any of the SportsCenter veterans laid off. McCarthy and Sire both have plenty of experience hosting NFL programming for ESPN so NFL Network could be a logical next step for them. The pair would be great additions.

Jane McManus – Yahoo Sports

Writer and radio host Jane McManus was another surprising name included in ESPN’s cuts as another skilled multi-platform personality. With her writing expertise, Yahoo Sports could make sense as a future destination where she could link up with other top writers and bloggers like Dan Wetzel and Greg Wyshynski. Yahoo has some of the best print journalism in sports these days (see Wetzel’s coverage of the Aaron Hernandez trial) and McManus would only make them stronger.

Brett McMurphy – Bleacher Report

Brett McMurphy is the Adam Schefter of college football. He owned the major news during college football realignment and broke so many stories while working for CBS that ESPN brought him in to be a college football reporter in Bristol. While a return to CBS seems like a natural fit, CBSSports.com has moved away from original reporting towards more aggregation. What about Bleacher Report, though? The online juggernaut has been moving towards hiring more big-name writers recently and McMurphy could bring the burgeoning outlet something completely new and valuable with his many scoops.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

  • Andrew Lavan

    Andy Katz is another name just recently revealed to be let go. I would have thought he’d be next in line for Outside The Lines.

    • Dale Moog

      Andy Katz to CBS/Turner for NCAA tourney and studio shows may on CBS Sports net during the regular season. Jerry Punch to NBC to work Indy car and NASCAR as a pit report and host. Danny Kanell could go to FOX as a game analyst or studio host and contributor on the FS1 debate shows. Dillfer to CBS is smart he could do the CBS Sports network shows and inside the NFL maybe even be on the 6th or 7th level broadcast team. and Ed Werder is a good fit at Pro Football talk and NBC I could see him as a reporter at the top game on Sunday for FNIA then writing for PFT and contributing to PFT radio with Florio. Jayson Stark to MLB network is a the best bet of any of the layoffs here.

  • ben

    I wonder if CBS would hire Andy Katz and put him on their college basketball podcast.

    • joecooltheman

      Agree, Andy would be a perfect fit on CBS Sports, which I already think has the best college basketball coverage.

      • Raymond Chuang

        Yep, Katz would immediately fit in on college basketball coverage. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS Sports has a contract ready for him to sign.

  • tedpeters

    I already switched my car radio settings away from ESPN. The talk had become too predictable… and too PC. I guess they needed to establish safe spaces for the ultra-sensitive souls in our society. Too bad… because “it is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.” Louis D. Brandeis

    • Ronnie the Limo Driver

      Yeah, Lebatarde is way to PC. Or not.

      • B52

        it’s “too”

        • Donald Willie

          You better go check your own spelling😉

  • Pingback: Here are the confirmed ESPN layoffs (constantly updated)()

  • W J P

    No one seems to be talking about one possible reason ESPN is losing so many subscribers. Maybe viewers dont want to be lectured by people like Tony Kornheiser telling them Republicans are like ISIS? ESPN has become a left wing propaganda outlet, and people watch sports programming to escape.

    • Deon Hamner

      I keep hearing this stupid argument about left vs right. Good grief it has nothing to do with political bias?! My god, the movie industry it almost full liberal and is hollywood or movie industry hurting? Hell no. The fact is that ESPN had way too many spots and services and some jobs needed to go. They had cut folks behind the scenes so now the on-air talent had to take a hit. People are not watching a full hour of highlights anymore. For that matter people are not watching the real freaking games anymore like they use to. To take credit as some blowback from the right is pure hogwash… Stop making about your damn political agenda for a change.

      • W J P

        ESPN used to be about sports. It’s turned into a platform for leftist dogma. *I* didn’t bring any politics into this, they did. If I wanted to get lectured about politics, I would turn to MSNBC. As it is, I have not watched ESPN for a while now b/c I don’t need to be told I am ISIS by their on air talent.

      • StoJa

        People don’t watch highlights because it’s not available to them anymore!! ESPN is just one “hott sportz takez!!” show after another, all fucking day long.

        • JIMMY

          ESPN has lost it’s PIZZAZ in my opinion.Don’t recognize many people . Their shows are BORING Wonder when ABC will fold them ……

      • B52

        that’s correct-it has nothing to do with espn’s leftism-keep repeating this:it might come true. THE 6 IS THE BEST AND HIGHEST RATED HIGHLIGHT SHOW EVER-TO SAY OTHERWISE IS RACIST #blm

      • StoJa

        Jamelle Hill, the golden goose at ESPN, wrote rooting for the Celtics is like rooting for Hitler or Gorbachev….and we, as Americans, cannot be mad at how ISIS treats homosexuals because of what happened in Orlando.

        But yeah….it’s the VIEWERS bringing politics into ESPN. Right on! You nailed it…..

      • Nathan Walter

        “Hey, Mr. Chef, millions of people are complaining about the quality of your food. You should probably figure out how to change that.”

        “NO, YOU FOOL! THEY ARE WRONG! MY FOOD IS GOOD. THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING!!!”

        Literally the argument John Skipper has been making for years. To say that ESPN’s political agenda isn’t at least one factor in their decline is to ignore a lot of people who are complaining about it regularly.

    • Andy Jakcsy

      If this were due to politics, wouldn’t TK have been the first to be axed? But no, he, Wilbon, Stephen A., they’re ESPN’s moneymakers, so they get to keep their jobs.

    • Kevin K

      You just keep believing that asshole.

  • Raymond Chuang

    I think Kanell, Stark and Werder could all end up on FOX Sports.

    FOX Sports has the niches that all three ex-ESPN staffers could easily fill with Big Ten college football, MLB and NFL, and FOX Sports is led by Jamie Horowitz, who was a high-level manager at ESPN for many years and knows Kanell, Stark and Werder very well.

    • Matt Galvin

      Stark would still be on to MLB Network. Ed Werder would be good on NFL Network because don’t have lots of Insiders. Bowden to TNT or MLB Network. Glanville TNT/MLB Network. Jay Crawford MLB Network/NFL Network/NBATV/KCTV5/KSHB Sports Director. Lebrun NHL Network as head Insider. Difler NBC or NFL Network.

      • Dale Moog

        Glanville would be good on TBS for post season baseball either in studio or on a Game in the first round. Also I could see him at MLB network during the regular season. Bowden would be a good fit at MLB network or on one of the RSN’s in LA or NY I could see him on Spectrum Sports Net LA. Jay Crawford could go to MLB media like Robert Flores and host either MLB tonight or NHL tonight I could see him maybe back in the Mid West hosting for STO Indians pregame or FOX Ohio with the Cavs

  • waynebeamer

    I really hate all of this layoff news, especially since ESPN has overpaid already escalating rights fees for an NFL Monday night package that’s been bad since its move from ABC and the NBA.

    For the knuckleheaded white privileged conservatives with chips on their shoulders jumping for joy about ESPN “losing their way,” they already have in some ways by making news instead of reporting it and cultivating a hot take culture that made stars out of Skippy Bayless and Screaming A. Smith.

    Interestingly, the one person ESPN laid off who didn’t take the high road on TW at the top of this piece will be the one who probably gets hired first by FS1.

    • John Crane

      Hey little Wayne, I have to watch two loud, race baiting, social justice warriors on the 6pm SportsCenter….what kind of white privilege is that?

      • StoJa

        And they both make over THREE MILLION a year, according to Richard Dietch. That is fucking insane, for maybe the single worst show I’ve ever seen on ESPN.

        • B52

          Really? lolololololo espn is even more insane than previously thought if that is true…

          • StoJa

            Deadspin has Hill at $3.5M and Smith at $3M. And they’re upset because Joe Sixpack wanted them gone and doesn’t worry about THEM as people with bills to pay.

      • waynebeamer

        I don’t watch SC6. I didn’t watch His and Hers either. They’re nice people, but I’m watching other things or working.

        If you don’t like what you’re watching on espn, vote with your remote.

    • B52

      Hilary won and unicorns are real in your world…

  • Barry Gaddis

    Diluted programming, way too many “personalities”. The “shift” to political positioning and ranting. There are many….many humans who sadly have been and are currently being oppressed in our World. Yet they are ALL not Black. And you may not think this is kind, yet all of this has little to nothing to do with Sports. We are at a crossroads in our country, the middle-aged and old passing the power over to the young and upcoming. And again you may label me which is fine, yet the percentages in our American societal balance in this crossroads handoff are not all Black. ESPN has alienated the Sports purist. For about 2 years now I have called it the Eternal Social Propaganda Network. There should be daily predictable “blocks” of programming and shows that cover the spectrum from old school sports purist up and to ultra liberal left wing views. Breaking up Mike & Mike will just about finish it for me. I may tune in every now and then. Personally, this may be harsh yet I think the next “saving” move would be to cut ties with John Skipper. Let him go to work for North Korea’s Nuclear Program. We Americans should well be safe for many years.

  • Morgan Wick

    Somewhat out-there proposal: Is Trent Dilfer the John Lynch replacement Tony Romo wasn’t for FOX?

  • Dale Moog

    I just heard that Dave O’Brian and Allen Bestwick are out as well. I know another area ESPN?ABC will be saving money, INDYCAR racing. They just let go the top pit report and lead Play by Play guy less than one month before the only race that anyone cares about. I will be interested to see who they get to call the race. I am sure they will announce that this will be the last INDY 500 on ABC.

    • Stuie299

      Dave O’Brien gone? Now that makes no sense. With all of the live sports ESPN covers you’d think they’d want to retain their play-by-play guys.

  • Quagmire

    Bleacher Report had its own round of layoffs a few months ago. No doubt they’d can more of the folks who helped make them what they’ve become for another hired gun like McMurphy.

  • Kevin K

    Get a kick out of all the RW troglodytes trying to paint this as a political comeuppance. It has very little to do with that. Notice the commentators you hate the most aren’t going anywhere asshats?

  • Stephen

    Danny Kanell was my favorite. His breezy downhome likability & self deprecating anecdotes were a breath of fresh air compared with other self absorbed talking head divas.
    Wherever he goes … I’ll gladly follow.