While a guest on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said his “intention” is to play for the New York Jets. A trade between the two teams is expected to be made in the coming days.
The 39-year-old Rodgers, who was named the NFL’s MVP in 2020 and 2021, might rework his contract as part of the deal. Last year, he signed a three-year extension worth $150.8 million, with an option for additional year (2025) at $58.3 million.
But Rodgers would “pay” for this opportunity to revive the struggling Jets—in the form of income taxes. Based on what is known about his contract and assuming Rogers resides in the state where he plays, he would pay an additional state tax of approximately $3.4 million in 2023 and 2024 by virtue of joining the Jets.
Despite their “New York” name, the Jets play home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Rodgers would thus face New Jersey’s 10.75% state income tax, the third highest rate after California (13.3%) and Hawaii (11%). When playing in Wisconsin, Rodgers paid the state’s highest rate of 7.65%, 10th highest in the country.
Regardless of his team, Rodgers will pay the highest federal income tax rate (37%) on the portion of his income that exceeds $578,126. He will also pay “jock taxes,” which some jurisdictions levy on players from visiting teams, as well as federal payroll taxes that are used to fund Medicare and Social Security. But the primary difference will come from the different state marginal rates.
Projecting Rodgers’ tax figures is an inexact science. Whether Rodgers, who reportedly owns homes in Wisconsin and California, resides in New Jersey or another state, such as New York—or New York City, which levies an additional tax ranging from 3.1% to 3.9%—would impact his tax calculation. Rodgers’ deductions and expenses would also play key roles. But it’s clear he’d see a bump in taxes owed by joining the Jets.
Taxes are also not Rodgers’ priority. He has already earned more than $300 million in his career from NFL salaries, plus many millions more in endorsement deals with State Farm, Pizza Hut and other major brands. His endorsement opportunities playing in the New York City market might more than make up for the difference in taxes.