NFL quarterback Joe Flacco this week signed a new contract with the Baltimore Ravens worth $120.6 million over six years, making him the highest-paid player in the league's history. But because the Super Bowl MVP plays in Maryland, a state with a 51.98 percent marginal income tax rate, Flacco won't necessarily take home the most cash in the NFL.
That honor, according to an analysis by Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform, will go to New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, who last year signed a five-year $100 million contract to play in Louisiana, a state with a combined federal and state tax rate of 49.4 percent. After taxes, Brees actually will take home $470,000 more than Flacco every year. (The analysis is based on player salaries, and does not take bonuses, endorsements and other sources of income into account.)
Had Flacco been offered the same deal with the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tennessee Titans or the Jacksonville Jaguars, teams that play in areas with no state tax burden, he would earn about $1.72 million more per year, ATR says. By playing for the Ravens, Flacco will shell out an estimated $10.44 million annually. After six years of paying state and local taxes in the Baltimore area, Flacco will earn a salary of $52.32 million—$10.32 million less than if he had played in states without an income tax.
But hey, at least he'll have a Super Bowl ring.