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MLS Salary Information Day: What Do The Loons Make In 2019?

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The MLS Players Association announced salaries for the league’s players Wednesday. What does it mean for MInnesota?

Quintero Gregus
Darwin Quintero and Jan Gregus stare over a free kick in MNUFC’s game against Columbus, possibly also pondering their status as the team’s two highest-paid players.
Tim C McLaughlin

Summer, apparently, is finally upon us. The MLS Players Association announced salaries Wednesday morning for all players on league rosters as of June 1. For Minnesota United fans, the release gives insight into what the team’s new additions make, where MNUFC gets relative value, and what sort of available budget space there is for transfers. Let’s dive in:

Minnesota United FC Salaries as of June 1, 2019

Last Name First Name Position Roster Category 2019 Base Salary 2019 Guaranteed Compensation
Last Name First Name Position Roster Category 2019 Base Salary 2019 Guaranteed Compensation
Rodriguez Angelo F DP $600,000.00 $667,188.00
Gregus Jan M DP $750,000.00 $883,500.00
Quintero Darwin M-F DP $1,750,000.00 $1,750,000.00
Dotson Hassani M RES $56,250.00 $56,250.00
Gasper Chase D RES $56,250.00 $56,250.00
Manley Carter D RES $57,225.00 $57,225.00
Omsberg Wyatt D RES $57,225.00 $57,225.00
Ng'Anzi Ally M-F RES $56,250.00 $56,250.00
Olum Lawrence D SEN $70,250.00 $70,250.00
Miller Eric D SEN $108,550.00 $124,425.00
Kallman Brent D SEN $118,000.00 $136,456.00
Shuttleworth Bobby GK SEN $175,000.00 $191,875.00
Boxall Michael D SEN $300,000.00 $317,333.00
Ibarra Miguel M SEN $309,996.00 $342,318.00
Opara Ike D SEN $350,000.00 $367,917.00
Finlay Ethan M-F SEN $400,008.00 $400,008.00
Molino Kevin M-F SEN $500,004.00 $546,254.00
Schuller Rasmus M SEN TAM $275,004.00 $300,004.00
Metanire Romain D SEN TAM $305,000.00 $411,833.00
Ibarra Romario M-F SEN TAM $500,000.00 $546,250.00
Mannone Vito GK SEN TAM $540,000.00 $594,000.00
Alonso Osvaldo D-M SEN TAM $650,000.00 $697,500.00
St. Clair Dayne GK SUP GA $70,250.00 $77,253.00
Toye Mason F SUP GA $135,000.00 $188,000.00
Danladi Abu F SUP GA $145,000.00 $180,000.00
Martin Collin M-F SUP HG $105,000.00 $105,000.00

The table lists two salary numbers: base salary, which is the player’s standard salary figure; and guaranteed compensation, which includes salary and bonus compensation amortized over the life of a player’s contract, namely signing bonuses and bonuses paid out for a player’s option being picked up for the following year. Guaranteed compensation doesn’t include performance bonuses, which instead act as escalators to base salary for following seasons.

The Top Paid Loons

Darwin Quintero continues to be the highest-paid Loon. The Colombian forward didn’t see a raise to his 2019 contract, staying on wages of $1.75 million per year. Jan Gregus comes in second for base and guaranteed money, making a base level of $750,000 with bonuses of $133,500 per year after his winter transfer from FC Copenhagen.

Gregus isn’t the only new Loon to make significant money. Osvaldo Alonso’s move from Seattle saw him continue to make TAM-level money, making a base of $650,000 with around $45,000 in bonuses to come in third in compensation on the roster. Reading loanee Vito Mannone, meanwhile, also makes above the maximum budget charge, with the goalkeeper’s base salary of $540,000 coming in fifth on the team behind Angelo Rodriguez’s $600,000.

Balling Out On a Budget

Minnesota’s other two marquee offseason defensive pickups are on more modest salary outlays. Romain Metanire’s contract sees him make $305,000 in base compensation with a bonus of around $107,000 per year. Ike Opara, meanwhile, makes $350,000 per year, a raise of just $25,000 following an offseason trade from Sporting Kansas City that, as he confirmed to the Pioneer Press, came amid a request for a raise on his next deal. The team’s Woodbury contingent saw salary increases on new deals with their hometown Loons; Brent Kallman’s guarantee increased by over $30,000 in 2019 to $118,000, while Eric Miller eclipses the $100,000 mark for the first time in his career this season.

The Loons are also getting greater output from some young, more inexpensive players this year. Draft picks Hassani Dotson and Chase Gasper both made the roster on reserve contracts, making a $56,250 salary that doesn’t hit the salary cap. The salaries of Abu Danladi, Mason Toye, and Dayne St. Clair also are cap-free via the Generation Adidas program, though St. Clair’s $70,250 salary would still qualify him for the supplemental roster at senior minimum level.

Relief Via Midseason Moves

The decisions to offload Francisco Calvo and Romario Ibarra came with disparate reactions among MNUFC fans. What both moves share was freeing up significant amounts of salary, either in straight cap space or targeted allocation money. Calvo came to the Chicago Fire via trade with a fair amount of baggage; he also came with around $440,000 left in 2019 salary to pay. At a bare minimum, Minnesota would have needed $70,000 in full-year TAM to pay his salary and be budget compliant, and $450,000 to buy him to the salary cap minimum for a TAM-level player; the lack of reporting to suggest any of Calvo’s remaining salary would be paid by Minnesota suggests that the Loons freed up nearly 75% of his prorated salary hit. Romario, meanwhile, left for Pachuca on a salary of $500,000. Moving him from the roster when they did should free up around two-thirds of his salary hit, meaning between $95,000 and $300,000 in salary cap room depending on how much TAM was used to pay his salary.

Room For Future Moves

Setting aside recent difficulties scoring, Minnesota United have a good amount of needs for the secondary transfer window that opens July 9. Today’s salary dump suggests one key opening to make moves for standard roster spots and higher cost players.

The potential buydown comes with Angelo Rodriguez, who holds the Designated Player tag mainly as an accounting measure. His $600,000 salary and a reportedly minimal transfer fee spread into his budget charge would qualify him to be TAM-eligible should Minnesota find someone whose total investment outlay would be more expensive than the Colombian (for those asking: Jan Gregus’s salary of $750,000 would put him in the salary portion of the TAM-level sweet spot; however, reports put his transfer fee somewhere on the higher end of the $1-2 million range, meaning that adding that fee to his budget charge would put him out of reach of TAM spending).

When you consider that Minnesota also opened up a minimum of $200,000—possibly up to $675,000 depending on each player’s TAM usage—in cap space via moving Calvo and Romario, Minnesota can easily afford a half-season DP charge from a compliance perspective. The GAM received for Francisco Calvo could be used to buy down another player’s budget charge to open the additional $65,000 in cap space for a half-season of a DP charge; moreover, the team appears to have enough TAM to further reduce Rodriguez’s contract hit should they decide to fill additional roster spots with senior-level players, and enough GAM to effectively buy more cap space with two international slots available.

The question looming into the future is the upcoming expiration of the MLS Players Association’s Collective Bargaining Agreement in January 2020. No one knows what the final deal will look like, though it’s fair to expect a higher amount of overall money to be made available to teams for their rosters. This creates a weird dynamic for MLS general managers and technical directors: how much do you puff up your roster now without knowledge of how much allocation money or cap space will be available this time next year, let alone whether or not the league will maintain its byzantine roster regulations?