The dust has settled and the disaster was averted. Little by little we are getting more information on the new MLS CBA that was agreed to last night.
Time to break down the facts that we do know going into the new season.
First of all, the reports suggest that this will be another five-year deal. The players were granted a rather limited version of free agency and the minimum salary has increased to $60,000 per year. Those are the big talking points to begin with.
The five year length is the same as the last two CBAs, which is impressive considering the owners wanted to make the CBA last for eight years based on reported we heard on Tuesday. That would have gone to the end of the current TV contract that beings this year.
The free agency
The whole free agency thing is really a concept right now that will be ironed out more and more as we go on. For now, we know that players with eight years of service in the league, who are 28 years old will qualify. Once again, this kind of system is built for the middle of the road players, or guys in the latter stages of their career like the Re-Entry Draft was set up to be last time around. I kind of wonder if the Re-Entry Draft will even be around come December.
Speaking of draft, while this is a free agency model, you know MLS will come up with some sort of silly name to handle this type of thing.
New 'free agents' in this system will reportedly be able to make a 15-25% raise next time around. To me, that sounds similar to what we get in the Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft.
Massive Report has put together a list of players that would be eligible in this new system. Right now, FC Dallas will only have to worry about Atiba Harris, Chris Seitz, Dan Kennedy, and Stephen Keel.
The downside of all of this is with the younger players. Think of someone like Kellyn Acosta, who signed when he was 17-years old. He will have to nearly play another decade before he qualifies for free agency in MLS. Crazy.
The minimum salaries are going up too, from the $48,500 veterans minimum to $60,000. That is going to be rather big for guys like Keel, Tesho Akindele, and Ryan Hollingshead. All three of them were on the previous minimum salary deal last year.
I'm curious to see how this also applies to the non-senior roster members, particularly the Homegrown and rookie contracts. In most cases these contracts haven't counted against the salary cap but seeing a guy like Victor Ulloa go from $36,000 to potentially $60,000 is a rather big deal. (It should be noted after 2014, Ulloa totally deserves that sort of bump in salary)
The next big thing was what the salary cap would look like in 2015. That detail is still a tad sketchy but we're starting to find out more and more that we're looking at a slight increase this year.
Just to clarify, that salary cap increase of around 7% is a yearly increase. #mlscba— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 5, 2015
Incremental increases to MLS salary cap over next 4 years, up to $4.2 million by 2019. Last year: $3.1m— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 5, 2015
Based on 15% raise now & @SoccerInsider report of $4.2m cap in 2019, next 5 yrs of MLS cap, 4% annual raise: $3.60m $3.75 $3.90 $4.05 $4.20— Steve Fenn (@StatHunting) March 5, 2015
For those keeping score at home, that means the salary cap will rise to somewhere in the $3.3 to $3.5 range. Again these details haven't officially been ironed out for us all to know but it appears that we're somewhere in that range for 2015.
The last one is rather important for FC Dallas as well.
That is very, very important actually. If that means we're staying at 30-man rosters, FC Dallas has some space to fill. Right now I count 24 players on the roster, 25 if you want to keep that open slot for Je-Vaughn Watson. We know players have been in camp like Juan Toja and other Homegrown players, so it would make sense for the club to begin announcing some more player signings in the near future.