Dallas Cowboys Training Camp: Tax Implications for Players

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The excitement of the NFL offseason is over, and it’s time for fans to focus on their favorite teams as training camps kick off. For the Dallas Cowboys, training camp takes place far from home, in Oxnard, California. While this may seem like a strategic move to ensure focus and favorable weather conditions, it comes with a significant tax burden for the players. In this article, we explore the tax implications that Dallas Cowboys players face due to their training camp location.

The Price of Training in California

California’s High Tax Rate

California is renowned for having the highest state tax rate in the country, peaking at 13.3%. NFL players who spend time in California for training camp must pay state taxes on their allocated income, even though they don’t receive a salary during this period.

Calculating Allocable Income

To determine state-allocable income, California multiplies a player’s salary by their duty day ratio. Duty days include any days a player is required to be with the team from the beginning of training camp until the end of the season or playoffs, plus any other offseason required appearances.

Dallas Cowboys Training Schedule

The Cowboys typically have a lengthy training schedule, with their camp starting in late July and extending until the end of December if they make the playoffs. During 2019, the team spent around 20 days working in California, with 16 of those days being actual training camp days.

Costly Tax Bills

The impact of California’s tax rate on player income can be substantial. For instance, wide receiver Amari Cooper, set to earn $13.924 million in 2019, will pay over $158,000 in taxes for training camp alone. This amount doesn’t include the additional taxes he owes for last year’s playoff game and this season’s pre-season game in California.

Considerations for Players

Offensive lineman Tyron Smith, the Cowboys’ highest-paid player, will pay nearly $177,000 for training camp and over $221,000 for the entire year. Such tax bills can be a significant financial burden for players, affecting their net earnings.

Exploring Alternative Options

Holding Training Camp in Dallas

One possible solution to mitigate the tax burden for players is to conduct training camp in Dallas itself. The Texans, for example, hold their camp in Houston, which experiences similar hot and humid weather conditions. Installing an air-conditioned bubble for practice sessions could help combat the heat.

Exploring Other Tax-Friendly States

Another option is to find another state with favorable weather conditions and nearby NFL teams but without high taxes. States like New Hampshire and Washington, which have no income tax, could provide suitable alternatives for training camp.

Striking a Balance

While Jerry Jones may have reasons for choosing a location far from home, it’s essential to consider the financial impact on players. Striking a balance between ideal training conditions and tax implications can ensure both team success and player satisfaction.


The Dallas Cowboys’ decision to hold their training camp in California may offer favorable weather conditions and focused preparation, but it comes at a cost for the players. California’s high tax rate results in significant tax bills for the players, impacting their earnings. Considering alternative options or finding ways to minimize the tax burden while maintaining an optimal training environment could lead to a win-win situation for both the team and its players. As the Cowboys gear up for the training camp, the financial aspect adds another layer of complexity to their preparation.

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