Rex Ryan’s finally been given his walking papers from Woody Johnson and the New York Jets, which means he instantly becomes the biggest free agent for sports television networks in possession of NFL broadcasting rights – like ESPN, CBS, Fox and the NFL Network – because of his willingness to tell it like it is.

His colorfulness should land him a big time contract with one of the above networks if he decides to sit out the season from coaching – where he also could make some big bucks as a defensive coordinator.

If the former Jets head man and Ravens DC does decide to take a year off, ESPN should pursue him to replace the aging Mike Ditka on its pregame shows Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown.

Ditka has become less opinionated in recent years, and Ryan would easily be able to spice it up by providing what Ditka did when he was first hired by ESPN – noteworthy soundbites that can spark conversation on a variety of ESPN platforms.

And if ESPN doesn’t want to risk having Ryan be a one-year rental on its wide array of NFL studio programming, the alleged Worldwide Leader in Sports should lock him up long-term with a clause in his contract that says he must stay at least two years as a Bristol employee.

With that assurance, ESPN would have a blue-chipper locked up for more than one year in order to prevent the same one-and-done situation that the “Mothership” encountered with current Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, who was an instant star in the booth on Sunday Night Baseball for the 2012 MLB season.

Ryan is the spark of energy that the Countdown crews need, and thus, it’s time for the four-letter sports network to pony up and offer the foot-fetish loving man the Jim Harbaugh-Michigan football package: a multi-million dollar deal that makes the long-time football coach HAVE to leave the sidelines for the warm confines of the Bristol, Conn., studios.

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