Will Taxes Put the Oakland Raiders at a Competitive Disadvantage in Free Agency?

The Oakland Raiders continue to whittle down their twig of a roster in preparation for free agency. In the last week, the Raiders have released five veteran players, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who announced his retirement. Quarterback Matt Schaub and his $5.5 million in salary will also come off the books at some point.

To get to the salary floor by the end of 2016, the Raiders must spend most of their cap space in cash, which will be well over $70 million once Schaub is gone, per Spotrac. Owner Mark Davis joked with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News about going to get a Brinks truck in preparation for the Raiders to be major players in free agency.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, wide receiver Randall Cobb and center Rodney Hudson are just a few of the big sticks the Raiders will go after in free agency, but does the fact the team plays in California actually put them at a disadvantage in signing big players? Will they whiff on all the top free agents again because, when adjusted for income tax, their offers just don’t hold up?

Mike Florio of Pro Football talk has brought up the tax rate difference, as has Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald in regards to free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The general idea is that Florida has no state income tax and California has a 13.3 percent tax on the wealthy, so the Raiders would have to make up the difference for Suh.

Of course, 13.3 percent of a $100 million contract is no chump change. It would be a huge disadvantage if it were that simple. Although sports journalists are good with statistics, they aren’t so great about checking tax law.

Players pay taxes on signing bonuses in their state of residency, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. Suh would pay the same in taxes on a signing bonus whether he signs in Oakland, Miami or on the Moon. He currently resides in Michigan with a flat tax of 4.25 percent....

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