Oh the midfield section, easily the most contested and debated group of any club. That is no different at FC Dallas where the midfield group will indeed be re-tooled up for next year.
So far, FC Dallas has opted not to re-sign three midfielders, leaving some serious cap space to be opened up.
For starters, something I would like to point out with is that the MLS salary cap this year was right at $2.95 million, which means given the previous bumps it should climb to over $3 million in 2014 for the first time in league history. For this series we'll just say $3.1 million to be safe.
MLS teams as most of you know can buy down a players salary with allocation, a number that seems made up on a case by case basis in some ways. But in all reality it is real and it does have a lot of meaning. FC Dallas will be getting some extra allocation this winter due to the fact that they failed to reach the post season. This is also known as the "you suck money" from the league.
Typically each year returning players see an increase in their salary unless it has been agreed with the club that they make less, as in the club and player worked out a deal.
In 2013, FC Dallas had a total salary figure just over $4 million.
The numbers and questions
Before the three declined options took place, FC Dallas had 10 midfielders on the roster. I'll still include those three in this discussion to show how much space has opened up.
1. DP money open. As we all know, David Ferreira's option was declined and he will now go through the Re-Entry Draft later this month. That chunk of change opens up $368,750 of cap space. The club has already stated that they are in pursuit of a new DP to fill that space.
2. Re-sign Ulloa? The one player in the bunch that has an expiring contract (that can be worked out until the end of the year) is Victor Ulloa. We said in our roster evaluation that he would be one to go, I still believe that to be the case for when the time comes. Not like his money will open up a big hole either, especially given the fact that he number did not count against the salary cap being a Homegrown player.
3. What about Jackson? I still ponder what the club plans to do with Jackson this offseason. Keep him? Sell him? Loan him back to Brazil? I bring it up because his salary is only going to get higher the longer he stays. Just something to consider here.
Here is the midfielders salary numbers based on their total compensation in 2013:
Mauro Diaz - $398,000*
David Ferreira - $730,000^
Danny Garcia - $64,000**
Jackson - $165,375
Andrew Jacobson - $135,000
Peter Luccin - $131,000
Erick - $85,875^
Ramon Nunez - $75,000^
Victor Ulloa - $49,000**
Bobby Warshaw - $62,070
Je-Vaughn Watson - $116,875
* - Young DP salary counts $200k towards the cap (Diaz only counted as $150k in 2013 thanks to his mid-season signing)
** - Homegrown player does not count against the cap
^ - Player has had their option declined
Total (not against the cap): $2,012,195
Total against the cap: $1,289,945 (w/ the three declined contracts)
Total against the cap: $760,320
Money going forward
We can expect some small raises for players returning, that happens each year. I wanted to show the money that was being used before the club got the DP discounts against the salary cap, as well as what the salary looks like now without Ferreira, Nunez and Erick on the books.
Obviously the big drop against the cap is due to Ferreira not being on the books. But the good news, with that number coming off the books and the extra allocation coming in this winter (hello 'you suck money' from MLS), there should be a fair amount of wiggle room to play with going forward.
Needs and wants for 2014
With the SuperDraft next month, the club will certainly need to focus on the midfield and getting quality depth at a cheap price. I think also having Danny Garcia available to play next year will make a nice difference too.
The flank depth still isn't there even though I think the club could move players like Jair Benitez forward more next year or once again have Michel in the midfield more. After that, having some solid defensive/holding midfield cover is really going to be the key going into next year. Some folks hate seeing a high priced defensive midfielder being signed but to me, that is where the bulk of that Ferreira-money needs to be spent. Look around the league at the top clubs and you'll see that the ones who are good year in and year out are those with quality players at the defensive/holding midfield spot.
But again, a lot of this depends on the new manager, and what style of play they are looking to run next season.
Final thoughts and figures
So right now we're a shade over $2 million against the cap without the forwards. That sounds about right to me. With allocation paying some player contracts down too, I do believe there will be some good wiggle room to play with in 2014 for this club. That all rests on Fernando Clavijo though, and we'll touch more on that at a later date as how this certainly will be a make or break year for him personally.
What do you make of this so far? Do you think the club needs to focus somewhere else in the midfield from the DM and flanks?