Nick Bosa’s New Contract: How Much Will He Really Take Home?

It’s that time of year again, the leaves are beginning to change, and the smell of fall is in the air. Along with the change from summer to fall is the start of another football season. The NFL kicked off another season last night with the Kansas City Chiefs playing the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football.

It is no secret that NFL players are among the highest paid athletes in the world. With contracts bringing in millions of dollars annually, players in the NFL appear to live extremely comfortable lifestyles. However, the number you see reported when a player signs a new contract or a contract extension is not the number that goes into his bank account.

It was reported yesterday afternoon that Nick Bosa, edge rusher for the San Francisco 49ers, agreed to a contract extension with the team. The contract was worth a whopping $170 million for 5-years, with $122.5 million of that money guaranteed.[1] However, Bosa will have to pay more than half of his annual salary away in taxes. NFL players are taxed in a much more complicated way than the average United States citizen.

NFL players are responsible for paying federal income tax and state income tax just like the rest of us. The difference is that they are also responsible for paying the jock tax. The jock tax is a special tax that requires NFL players to pay a tax on the income they earn outside of their home state.[2] This means that they pay state income tax on their weekly salary in whatever state they played in. The jock tax doesn’t just apply to professional athletes; it applies to anyone who earns money outside of their home state.[3]

Players in the NFL are paid throughout their season on a weekly basis. This means that Bosa will be paid his $34 million annual salary each week throughout the course of the 49ers season. At the end of the year when Bosa files his tax return, he will be required to pay a federal income tax of 41.95% and a California state income tax of 13.3% – California has the highest state income tax rate in the United States.

As previously mentioned, Bosa also must pay a jock tax on his away game weekly checks. The jock tax is more detrimental to some players’ financial status than others. This is because every state has different rates at which they tax their residents. Florida for example, has no state income tax. This means that if the 49ers play the Miami Dolphins in Miami, Bosa will not pay anything in jock taxes for that week.[4] However, if the 49ers play the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, the jock tax assessed against Bosa would be 8.82% of his weekly salary for that week.[5]

Players playing in states with no income tax, such as Florida, despise the jock tax, as they have to pay taxes on their weekly salary they normally wouldn’t have to pay in their home state. On the contrary, players like Bosa are able to pay less in taxes because any away game they have will be in states with lower income tax rates than California.

The jock tax is further complicated with the NFL continually looking to expand its audience with international games. This year, the NFL will play games in both London and Berlin. NFL players who play in London and Berlin will be taxed at a gradual rate up to 45%.[6] This means that players who are on teams playing international games are taxed even heavier. However, the United States tax laws provide athletes with a foreign tax credit at the United States rate.[7] This rate is likely lower than the international and additional state taxation rates.[8]

Whether you make $34 million a year like Bosa or you make minimum wage, nobody enjoys having to pay taxes. The amount paid in taxes by NFL players can vary depending on salary and what state the team they play for is located in. The taxes paid by players are major streams of revenue for states like California and New York. This played a major role in Governor Kathy Hochul justifying the construction of a new Bills stadium. The Bills generate about $27 million in direct income, sales and use tax for New York State, Erie County and Buffalo annually.[9] However, this may lead some players to avoid playing for teams in these high income tax states. The massive contract paid out to Bosa making him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history was also a payday for the State of California.

[1] Niners edge Nick Bosa agrees to terms on record 5-year, $170M extension (

[2] What Is the Jock Tax? – SmartAsset

[3] Id.

[4] What Do NFL Players Pay in Taxes? – SmartAsset

[5] Id.

[6] NFL Draft Picks’ Pay Hinges on Wildly Different State Tax Rates (; Overseas Athletes & UK Income Tax | Taxation | Saffery; Germany – Individual – Taxes on personal income (

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Governor Hochul, Buffalo Bills, and Erie County Announce Start of Construction on New, State-of-the-Art Buffalo Bills Football Stadium | Governor Kathy Hochul (

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