Mel Kiper Jr. receives contract extension from ESPN, keeping him at the network through 2018

The NFL is the biggest, baddest business in the sports world, and ESPN recognized that Wednesday, signing four of their biggest football insiders to contract extensions, including NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.

In addition to Kiper Jr., ESPN signed Adam Schefter, John Clayton and Ed Werder to multi-year contract extensions, according to Sports Illustrated.

Kiper Jr.'s deal will be for six years into the summer of 2018. He has been the face of the NFL Draft in four different decades, joining ESPN back in 1984. The network recognized the importance of his presence to their broadcast of the most popular sport's selection process.

"Nobody personifies the NFL draft like Mel Kiper," Mark Gross, an executive producer at ESPN, told SI.com. "He's incredibly well-respected by viewers and teams."

Locking up these personalities was huge for ESPN, especially since Erin Andrew, Michele Beadle and Jim Rome all recently left the network.

The draft without Kiper Jr. certainly wouldn't be the same, but ESPN's broadcast of the draft is still tough to watch with Chris Berman anchoring the coverage. But hey, at least Kiper is locked and loaded for another half dozen years.

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