Will Vegas move make re-signing Khalil Mack, Derek Carr harder for the Raiders?

The Oakland Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas in the next few years. One of the noteworthy impacts of the move is taking the team from an income tax heavy state in California to an income tax free state in Nevada. That means players who sign with the Raiders will be able to take more of their contract home with them in Nevada than California.

According to Benjamin Albright, that adds up to a savings of approximately $130,000.00 for every million they make.

That is going to be great in free agency where the Raiders can point out the lack of an income tax as a reason to be interested in joining the team. But before we get to that point, one has to wonder if it could impact the re-signing of star Khalil Mack and potentially even Derek Carr.

Mack is signed through this season with a team option for next season. Undoubtedly the Raiders will make use of that team option but ideally, they will get him signed well in advance of free agency in 2019. The thing is, if Mack and his agent were smart, they would wait until the last second to re-sign. Why? Because the longer the wait, the more of Mack’s contract will fall in years when the team is in Nevada rather than California.

Since the Raiders are scheduled to be in Vegas by 2020, that doesn’t seem like a big deal. It means Mack will likely only play one year of his contract in Oakland before cashing in on the move.

But, that one year could really mess with the ability of Reggie McKenzie to write the contact.

McKenzie loves front loading his deals and getting most of the cap hit out of the way early. With the current situation, that may not be a possibility. If front loading the cap also means front loading a tax hit, Mack is unlikely to be very happy with that arrangement.

Similarly, Derek Carr is looking at spending a significant chunk of his new contract in Oakland. Who knows what Carr will do, but there’s always a chance he will seek out a short term extension that gets him to Nevada followed by a new extension once they are in the tax free zone.

There are ways to get around this by backloading, spreading out signing bonuses etc, but it’s going to take McKenzie getting creative once again because those all call for deviating from the pattern he’s established.

On Tuesday, Andrew Brandt, the ESPN business insider who was on KNBR’s The Audible, made it sound even more dire than this when he said that Carr’s agent will likely look for a backoaded deal and that McKenzie is very likely to fight against that. Time will tell how much more complicated it gets but it’s also worth noting that Brandt isn’t just speculating, he had an office next door to McKenzie and worked closely with him for years in Green Bay.

The move most certainly will not prevent the Raiders from keeping Carr or Mack, but it may have made Reggie McKenzie’s salary cap balancing act more difficult.

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