California Taxes Could Keep Ndamukong Suh From Joining Raiders

Ndamukong Suh is just days away (8 to be exact) from becoming the prize of the 2015 free agent class. His contract is expected by many to exceed $100 million.

With money to spend the Raiders will be in the mix. They need help at defensive tackle and Suh is among the most dominant defensive players in the game. But there’s a problem. The Raiders are in California. Yes, Suh would like to play on the west coast – that’s not the problem. The problem is California’s 13.3% tax rate – the highest in the United States.

What makes matters worse is the two other teams linked to Suh (Tampa Bay and Jacksonville) are from Florida. Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Washington have no income tax. What does that mean? Suh would essentially make $8 million more in Florida with the same $102 million contract he would receive in Oakland. Former NFL agent, Joel Corry, wrote an article on Suh’s situation in December explaining tax rates and how they affect athletes in different states – it would be worth your time to take a look.

No one knows where Suh wants to go, but is it any wonder rumors were swirling a few weeks ago that his first choice is Seattle? $8 million is too much to throw away if Suh isn’t set on playing for the Raiders – and I highly doubt he is. So as March 10 (first day free agents can sign) gets closer, remember the Raiders won’t be bidding against the Tampa Bay or Jacksonville. They’ll be bidding against the state of Florida and handicapped by California’s 13.3% tax rate.

As for free agents like Randall Cobb and Julius Thomas, California tax rate will still be a factor, but the difference won’t be $8 million on a contract roughly half the size of Suh’s. That said, the Raiders will still have to outbid teams to compete – something they’ll be more willing to do on a contract that isn’t as outrageous as Suh’s.

My prediction? Oakland will scoop up Randall Cobb and/or Julius Thomas. Ndamukong Suh? Not so much.