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NY Jets have 3 possible disadvantages on free agent market

Mike Evans
Mike Evans

The New York Jets have several holes but may not be able to fill them all with free agents

Playing for the New York Jets is always a roller coaster ride.

Between the uncompromising New York spotlight, the cold weather, and the league-worst stadium, there are many incidental reasons that a free agent may choose another team. All of those are out of the control of anyone in the Jets’ organization (except Woody and Christopher Johnson, perhaps).

There are several other issues facing the Jets whenever they try to lure a free agent to join the team. Last offseason, perhaps chief among them was that players did not know who the Jets’ quarterback was going to be. This year, although that answer is clear, there are still many other obstacles to bringing players over to New York.

State tax

This issue came to the forefront of the NFL world when Tyreek Hill exposed it. The fact is that all states’ tax rates are not created equal. In a hard-cap league, that gives some teams a tremendous advantage over others. Owners with more cash cannot incentivize a free agent to overlook that reality without destroying their salary cap.

Here is the full list of the top marginal tax rates by state from 2022. Presumably, all NFL athletes will be in the top income tax bracket. The marginal rate is the highest rate at which their money is taxed.

To apply this by team, here is a full list of teams and the top marginal tax rates that players would pay in that state.

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Why would someone play for the Jets, who play in a state that can take up to 11.75% of their income in addition to federal income tax, when they can go to sunny Florida without paying a dime? This question becomes a reality when considering that Mike Evans may be the Jets’ top free agent receiver target, but he currently plays in Florida.

Of course, the Jets aren’t the only team facing this issue. The Giants, Bills, Chargers, Rams, 49ers, and Commanders are other teams that play in states with high tax rates. Still, it’s just another strike against a star-crossed franchise as they try to end their long playoff drought.

Aaron Rodgers

As much as the Jets like to sell Aaron Rodgers as a reason players would want to come to the team, there may be many players who want to avoid him. He has a polarizing personality and has made many controversial statements over the years. Most recently, he was barred from the Pat McAfee Show (although he immediately returned anyway) after backlash over a comment about Jimmy Kimmel. Perhaps some players want to stay away from all the drama.

Additionally, in his time with Green Bay, Rodgers developed a reputation for caring about himself more than the team. He refused to go to OTAs and threw his young receivers under the bus in his final season there. Though his time in New York has gone much more smoothly thus far, he’s also played just four regular-season snaps. We don’t know how he would have reacted if he was the one forced to play behind 12 different offensive line combinations.

While some praise Rodgers for his leadership, not all players might feel the same. Rodgers recently slammed the Jets for needing to get all the “[expletive] that has nothing to do with winning out of the building” despite his decision to make weekly controversial statements on national television.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s recent comments about his negotiations with the Jets serve as an example that Rodgers alone will not always be enough to lure a player in. Beckham explained how he felt like the Jets seemed to think it would be a “privilege” for him to join the team.

“They just kind of slow-played the offer or felt disrespected. They just kind of thought they had it in the bag, that they were the best team, and that it would be a privilege for me to be over there. I think it’s that quote, go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated.”

Davante Adams might want to join Rodgers, but will Tee Higgins, Mike Evans, Michael Pittman, or the offensive linemen the team so desperately needs?

The ‘SOJ’ curse

Players want to go to teams that win. The Jets haven’t done any of it over the last 13 years. Therefore, it’s important to pump the brakes on any vision of acquiring particular free agents.

Of course, the Jets will be able to sign some players. Every team can. Robert Saleh has good relationships around the NFL, and playing with Rodgers may be appealing. (If they’re coming because of the quarterback, that may be a good reason to stay away from them — witness the crew he brought along with him last year.)

Still, the Jets have a reputation as a franchise that can’t get it together. Same Old Jets will follow them around until they win.

When developing a free agency plan for the Jets, it’s important to consider these factors and understand that the team may not have as many options as it appears.

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Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
5 months ago

Despite the high tax rates, all the teams above the Jets on that list were in the playoffs this year.

5 months ago

I don’t understand why the league has revenue sharing/ splitting money amongst teams but then doesn’t apply something to level out state tax

Charlie Winner
Charlie Winner
5 months ago
Reply to  dudizt

More importantly, why doesn’t the NFL and the people of those States do something to force the States to simply lower the rates for all.

Florida is larger than New Jersey in population and size and it it exists very well without an income tax. Why should an athlete donate the fruits of his labors to a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats?

Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
5 months ago
Reply to  Charlie Winner

Because the left cares more about “fairness” and Making people pay their “fair share” rather than policies that promote economic growth.

Robert Papalia
Robert Papalia
5 months ago

It is what it is.