ESPN has let go Max Kellerman and Keyshawn Johnson, The Post has learned.
The news isn’t all bad for Johnson as only a year ago, he signed a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $18 million – and he will be able to collect all of it.
Johnson also may become a top candidate to replace Shannon Sharpe as Skip Bayless’ debater on FS1’s “Undisputed.”
He already lives in Los Angeles, where the show is filmed.
Kellerman and Johnson are part of the roughly 20 personalities who are being informed that their time on ESPN is done, beginning Friday as the network is cutting payroll.
Kellerman was making in the $5 million-a-year neighborhood.
Kellerman’s arc at ESPN headed in the wrong direction after Stephen A. Smith decided that he wanted to change the debate format of his morning show, “First Take.”
Smith essentially jettisoned Kellerman in favor of a variety pack of verbal opponents, which has led to folks like Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, Marcus Spears and JJ Redick, taking on Smith. Kellerman left “First Take” toward the end of 2021.
After “First Take,” Kellerman was placed on ESPN Radio’s morning program with Johnson and Jay Williams.
Kellerman also was given an afternoon TV show called, “This Just In.”
With Pat McAfee joining ESPN on a five-year deal for in the neighborhood of $85 million, Kellerman was further diminished, which has led to his dismissal.
Johnson was brought in as the center of the morning radio show. ESPN did not pay enough attention to who was around him, teaming him originally with Williams and Zubin Mehenti.
Neither had much radio experience. Mehenti, who dealt with some medical issues, was eventually replaced by Kellerman. Johnson was a part of ESPN’s “NFL Live” program.
While ESPN still will pay Johnson, it can write off the rest of his contract, which helps its books and impresses Wall Street.
Johnson will have to work with ESPN legal if he wants to work for FS1 or on another platform.
Williams’ contract is up at the end of the summer.
With the network scrapping the morning show, Williams is unlikely to remain in radio.
ESPN could try to keep him as an NBA or college basketball analyst.