Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who became the highest-paid player in the NFL with his six-year, 120.6 million contract, will not be the highest earner because of Maryland's high tax rate.
In fact, Flacco will not take home the most money next year because he will now pay "a combined marginal income tax rate of 51.98 percent" that is "composed of the federal, Maryland, and Baltimore County income tax rate, as well as the Medicare tax."
Flacco will have a yearly federal tax burden of $8.72 million and, because he plays in Baltimore, a $1.72 million state and county tax burden on top of that.
As the Americans for Tax Reform analysis notes, this does not include other taxes like property taxes and the so-called "jock tax" liability in which athletes have to pay income tax on earnings for for games played in certain states like Massachusetts.
Had Flacco signed with a team from Texas, Florida, or Tennessee, for instance, he could have saved $1.72 million in total marginal tax liability, according to the analysis.
The league's highest earner will actually be New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees, who stands to make $470,000 more a year than Flacco because of a lower combined marginal tax rate of 49.4%.