Raiders coach Jon Gruden and star pass rusher Khalil Mack still haven’t spoken since Gruden got the job, but on one issue they may have some common ground: They both recognize an opportunity to reduce their tax bill by structuring their contracts to pay them most of their money after the Raiders move to Las Vegas.
California has America’s highest income tax rate, at 13.3 percent. Nevada is one of the few states with no income tax. That’s surely part of the reason that Gruden’s contract is backloaded, to pay him more money once the Raiders are playing in Las Vegas than he’s getting over the next two years while they’re still playing in Oakland.
As noted by Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the tax issue could complicate things between Mack and the Raiders. Mack may want to push more of his guaranteed money to the 2020 season, when the Raiders will be in Las Vegas, and the Raiders may not want to have huge guaranteed payouts on their books years in advance.
Mack may also figure that if he’s going to wait a couple years for his biggest payday, he doesn’t need to be in any hurry to get a deal done now: If the Raiders haven’t bowled him over with an offer that makes him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, mack might calculate that it makes more sense to hold off on signing any long-term deals until he’s in a position where he can either re-sign with a Nevada-based franchise, or shop himself to the highest bidder.