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Kirk Cousins’ decision could be swayed by tax law

Well, maybe not, but it’s at least a consideration

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As if there weren’t enough different angles to potentially look at concerning the Minnesota Vikings’ potentially signing Kirk Cousins to a contract when free agency starts, there’s one that many of us haven’t considered. But it’s one that I’m certain that Cousins. . .or, more specifically, his agent. . .have thought of.


Let me explain.

Brian Costello of the New York Post has put together an article looking at the chances of the teams that have been deemed the “Final Four” in the Cousins derby of signing him to a deal. Those teams are the Vikings, the New York Jets, the Denver Broncos, and the Arizona Cardinals. One of the primary arguments that Costello has in favor of the Vikings is the amount of tax that Cousins would have to pay on whatever ridiculous salary figure he’s going to wind up at.

Cousins built a house in Michigan in 2017, so presumably that is where he plans to live in the offseason. Michigan and Minnesota have a reciprocal agreement, according to Robert Raiola, director of the Sports & Entertainment Group at the CPA and consulting firm PKF O’Connor. That means Cousins would not have to pay Minnesota tax, just Michigan. The Michigan tax rate is 4.25. If he signed with another team, he would have to pay tax in that state and Michigan. New Jersey’s tax rate is 8.97 by comparison.

So, if Cousins were to sign with the Vikings, he would only have to pay taxes once on his football income, at a rate of 4.25%. If he signed with any of the other three teams, he would have to pay not only the Michigan state income tax, but also the income tax of either New Jersey (8.97%), Colorado (4.63%), or Arizona (4.54%).

Minnesota only has this reciprocity agreement with two states: Michigan and North Dakota. They used to have one with Wisconsin, but that expired on 1 January 2010. Probably because Wisconsin was still sore over the Vikings signing Brett Favre.

(That might not be the actual reason.)

In theory, this would then mean that Cousins could take a lower deal from the Vikings, if his true focus is winning football games, and still have more actual take-home money to keep for himself because he wouldn’t be getting dinged twice on income tax.

Like I said in the open, it certainly isn’t something that a lot of fans have considered. I know that I hadn’t. But, you can bet that Cousins and his agent are well aware of this.