NFL Free Agency: Raiders' Las Vegas Move Already Has Role in Contracts

Trent Brown will sign a four-year contract with the Raiders on Wednesday worth up to $66 million. There's $36.25 million fully guaranteed for the offensive lineman, all of it in the first two years.

Players generally prefer the biggest sum in that first season, but Brown elected to put his largest payout in 2020.

That wasn't random. It certainly wasn't superstitious.

Brown wanted more next year, and will earn $21.25 million when the Raiders are scheduled move to Las Vegas. The state of Nevada, after all, has no state income tax.

California, by contrast, takes 13 percent from its highest earners. That's a huge difference, and players and their agents are cognizant of it. This has been a talking point since the Raiders were approved for relocation to Las Vegas in March 2017, but it wasn't truly applicable until now. Before then, the move was too far out.

Now it's on the horizon, with a brand new stadium being built off the Las Vegas Strip and a facility going up in nearby Henderson. The Raiders are scheduled to play one more season in Oakland – that lease to play at Oakland Coliseum is nearing completion – before staying full time in the Silver State.

Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is making far less than Brown but is taking a similar tact. He can earn $2.478 million in 2019 playing in California, but has a chance to earn $6 million the following year in Las Vegas.

We haven't seen details from Antonio Brown's massive restructure – he's set to make roughly $50 million with $30 million guaranteed over three years – but moving to Las Vegas (and Nevada's tax laws) was a factor in him agreeing to join the Raiders.

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It will be interesting to see how many in this year's Raiders free agent class defer guaranteed money to 2020 to get paid more in Nevada than they would in California.

There are other attractions to the destination city known for its nightlife and party atmosphere, but keeping extra money in their pocket is the biggest draw of all for players. Those factors, plus new facilities, should help the Raiders attract free agents both now and in the future.

"I don't think there's any doubt about that," Raiders general Mike Mayock said a few weeks back, at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We can't counsel them on tax matters, technically and legally, but we're all aware of it. Once we get into trying to structure contracts that crossover into Nevada timeframe, we've already seen agents asking questions about it. the genesis of that, is that those guys go from 13 percent of zero percent. That's a pretty good pop in a contract."

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