A few weeks ago I used my amateur MLS accounting skills to take a look at the Fire's salary cap situation. I wrote the piece before the acquisitions of Castillo, Ljungberg, and Segares and the departures of Mapp and Ward so I've decided to take another stab at attempting to decipher the puzzle known as the MLS salary cap. Once again, the revised and updated MLS player salary list has helped shed some light on the mystery.
Simply adding up the total guaranteed and/or base salaries for each team shows us that the Fire are third in MLS in terms of dollars spent on player salaries, trailing only New York and Los Angeles. The team is spending $5,559,103.00 in guaranteed money (although half of Ljungberg's salary is on Seattle's books) and $4,836,214.00 in base salaries. Both figures are well over MLS' $2,550,000.00 cap number.
The total base salary for the year is the figure used to determine the salary cap amount for each team. The Fire's total for base salaries per the August 12 Player's Union update is $2,491,210.00. However, this total does not take into account the first half salaries for Martinez, Mapp, and Ward. Adding these three figures into the 2010 base salaries, the amount increases to $2,701,210.00.
Taking into account that MLS rules allow for up to six roster spots for minimum salary and/or developmental players (Generation Adidas) that are not assessed against the cap one can subtract the salaries of Bone and Johnson, both of whom were Generation Adidas signings. The Fire currently have six players earning the minimum $40K salary but only four of those are exempt from the cap amount since Bone and Johnson are included in the exemptions. The total dollar figure that can be subtracted for the six salary cap exempt spots is $290,000.00 which brings the Fire's "cappable" total to $2,411,210.00.
In terms of MLS' fuzzy match the Fire are still apparently $138,790.00 below the salary cap amount of $2,550,000.00 per team.
That seems to provide some flexibility this season although the roster additions are presumably over but the remaining dollars will be best used if saved for 2011. Nery Castillo's cap figure next season will be $335,000.00 and if Ljungberg's option is picked up he will also count as another $335,000.00 DP slot. If the remaining cap dollars are not used, Frank Klopas is already over the cap going into 2011 if the current roster remains intact. Of course, some high salary players may not return next year or may be asked to return for less but the opportunity for additions will still exist given that the MLS cap will increase by $127,500.00 next season.
Other items of concern which need to be considered going into next season are Segares' full year salary figure increasing, Conde's raise and new salary if he opts to stay in Chicago, and Johnson's possible graduation from Generation Adidas based on playing time. That discussion can wait until November.
The Sounders will go into Saturday's match against the Fire with two days rest. Seattle will face Monterrey at home in CONCACAF Champion's League play on Wednesday night.
The guys on Extra Time Radio discussed the Fire yesterday. Fire discussion at around the 35 minute mark.
To follow Fire Confidential on Twitter just find "Fire Conf" and sign up for new post updates, general soccer comments, and other such nonsense.
Listen to Jeff Crandall's podcast interview with Sean Johnson by clicking here.
Tickets for USA v Poland at Soldier Field on October 9 go on sale this Saturday.