Major League Soccer hasn't official released a statement or a report on this (at least not to my knowledge but when has this league made things that easy to understand anyway?) but Krisian Dyer with Yahoo Sports has given us a pretty good look into what this 'Core Player' Designation is and how it'll impact the league and FC Dallas.
What It Isn't
At least, this part is the clearest and simplest to understand. It is not a 4th DP slot for MLS teams. So don't freak out FCD hopefuls, this team isn't lagging even further behind in terms of signing significant players to this squad. It is also not a raise in the salary cap, so there's no wiggle room there either.
What It Kind of Is
It's really just another way to utilize the league's allocation money. Why is that significant? Well it's just another way to fudge the books so that certain player's salaries are being lowered below the DP threshold, opening up space for the team to bring on another DP.
How Does it Work?
The mechanism does seem to put some restrictions in play as to who you can throw this allocation money towards to lower someone's salary against the cap.
A source told Yahoo Sports that a Core Player is a current Designated Player who makes more than the league's maximum salary of $436,000 but less than $750,000. The rule is up for evaluation next year, a second league source said, when MLS could decide to potentially add more allocation money into the pot for each team.
Yup, this is pretty specific and confined to particular players that are eligible for this. So you're probably wondering now, how can LA pull this off if all three of their DPs are above this salary figure? According to the new CBA, each team will receive an additional $100,000 per year in allocation money. The big twist to is that this number can be used in one go if the team so desires. So in the Galaxy's case, they can essentially use up all five years' worth of allocation money ($500k) towards Omar Gonzalez, thus lowering him into the 'Core Player' threshold, and bam! All of the sudden now Giovani dos Santos is eligible to be signed and still stay under the league's salary cap structure.
And Dallas? What about us?
Nothing really. The most current list of MLS salaries available doesn't have anyone on the FCD roster that makes enough money that qualify for 'Core Player' designation. Plus there's that thing where FC Dallas only have two DPs at the moment, so the need to utilize this isn't necessary at all. Now will Dallas put this into use in the near future?
That's for another post.