ESPN intends to keep NFL analyst Damien Woody after Fox Sports pursued him with a potentially huge raise. Fox planned to team Woody with Craig Carton on Carton’s forthcoming new Fox Sports 1 TV show, The Post has learned.
Woody has one-year remaining on his ESPN contract, which allowed the network to block the move.
Fox Sports had not made an official offer, but planned to move fast and go strong after Woody to consummate a deal.
ESPN and Fox Sports declined comment.
The Post previously reported that Carton had signed with Fox Sports for the early-morning program.
The 44-year-old Woody, an NFL guard from 1999-2010 with the Jets, Patriots and Lions, has been with ESPN for 11 years. He has made regular appearances on “First Take,” “Get Up!” and “SportsCenter.”
There is recent precedent for letting commentators out of their deals early. Fox Sports allowed the face of its network, Joe Buck, to leave with a year remaining on his deal for a five-year, $75 million contract with ESPN to call “Monday Night Football” with Troy Aikman, who also left Fox.
Fox felt it was the right thing to do after Buck had been a top performer for the network for nearly three decades and because there was a feeling that he was going to leave in a year anyway.
Besides Buck and Woody, Fox and ESPN have been fighting over other on-air personalities. Just recently, Dan Orlovsky stayed at ESPN after Fox wanted to make him part of what will be reimagined daytime programming.
In recent years, Fox has hired former ESPNers Tom Rinaldi, Emmanuel Acho, Jonathan Vilma and Adam Amin.
Fox went after Woody, but ESPN is blocking any official negotiations as it values what Woody has brought to the ratings success of its opinion shows. That is why ESPN wants to keep Woody and why Fox Sports wanted him to be Carton’s partner.
No Mondays for Moss
Randy Moss will continue on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown,” but will not be on the pregame show on Monday nights, The Post has learned. The decision was Moss’ and occurred as the two sides negotiated a new contract.
Amazon Prime Video showed interest in Moss for its “Thursday Night Football” studio shows, according to sources. While Moss does not make much news with opinions as an analyst, ESPN loves his, “You got Mossed” segment and how he rates with its focus groups.
Clicker book club
Papa Clicker’s latest review is of “Gabe Paul: The Long Road to the Bronx Zoo,” by William A. Cook. The book traces Paul’s six-plus decades in baseball, from being a bat boy to working as an executive at the highest level with numerous teams, including the Reds, Astros and the Yankees. Paul’s relationship on the Yankees with George Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, along with his many trades, are examined. The book receives 4.15 out of 5 clickers.