MLSPU releases player salary info - a look at the Fire's 2013 budget situation

It's that time of the year again. The MLS Player's Union has released the complete list of 2013 player salaries opening the door for the annual tradition of salary budget speculation and number crunching. Of course, as always one must qualify these numbers by stating that what you see here isn't always the exact amount that is attributed against the salary budget for each team. MLS isn't ponying up with corrections or actual amounts anytime soon but you can get a general idea of where a team might stand in relation to the overall budget.  However, allocation, loan deals, and player-specific contract terms always muddy the waters when trying to see through the not so transparent window of MLS accounting.

The salary budget for each MLS club this season is $2,950,000.00 for players 1-20 on the roster. Here's a complete guess at where the Fire might stand (the first number is the listed salary followed by guaranteed compensation):

On Budget

1.Alex M $ 110,000.00 $ 119,950.00

2.Atouba Yazid F $ 46,500.00 $ 51,500.00

3.Anibaba Jalil D $ 91,245.00 $ 131,245.00

4.Berry Austin D $ 63,425.00 $ 78,425.00

5.Bone Corben M $ 46,500.00 $ 49,000.00

6.Santos Maicon F $ 157,000.00 $ 164,433.33

7.Duka Dilly M $ 140,000.00 $ 273,000.00

8.Friedrich Arne D $ 300,000.00 $ 367,500.00

9.Johnson Sean GK $ 120,000.00 $ 153,000.00

10.Larentowicz Jeff D $ 225,000.00 $ 231,000.00

11.Lindpere Joel M $ 180,000.00 $ 205,000.00

12.MacDonald Sherjill F $ 400,000.00 $ 527,125.00

13.Nyarko Patrick F $ 230,000.00 $ 249,500.00

14.Paladini Daniel M $ 86,625.00 $ 91,103.25

15.Pause Logan M $ 180,000.00 $ 197,833.33

16.Rolfe Chris F $ 225,000.00 $ 248,333.33

17.Segares Gonzalo D $ 155,000.00 $ 155,000.00

18.Thompson Wells M $ 105,000.00 $ 113,125.00

Players 1-20 make up the "on budget" totals or the amounts which count against the cap. Teams can leave two slots open for additional players and for the purpose of this exercise let's assume the Fire has two "on budget" spots open. This brings the total value in guaranteed compensation for the "on budget" players to $3,247,127.00 by taking into account that Sherjill MacDonald's salary cap hit is at the DP maximum of $368,750.00.

That puts the Fire roughly $297,127.00 over the budget amount of $2,950,000.00 for each club. There are other factors that weigh into what the actual number is in MLS reality such as the amount of allocation dollars attributed to buying down the cap hit or increasing the budget total and how much of Dilly Duka's guaranteed number is actually being picked up by Chicago. The Fire received a substantial amount of funny money when Marco Pappa was sold to Heerenveen so a big chunk of that is probably still in play here.

A total of $175,000.00 in budget space will be needed if the Fire are looking to add a designated player during the July transfer window. It seems that the club is saving that cap space/allocation amount in order to add a quality player later judging by their inactivity before the closing of the primary window on May 6. Trades can still be made within the league but a deal for someone like Bakary Soumare would involve either the Union picking up a substantial portion of the guaranteed amount, the player restructuring his deal, or moving some of the higher paid veterans on the roster.

The same can said of a deal for Robbie Rogers. Some salary cap gymnastics would need to take place in order to add him to the roster even if he did want to play in Chicago. This is why allocation dollars would probably be the best value if Los Angeles is unwilling to part with someone like Mike Magee, who is by the way making $191,667.00 guaranteed. How much funny money Bruce Arena has sitting in his pocket is anyone's guess but I can imagine that the league will ensure the Fire is compensated fairly if it comes to that.

Off Budget

Amarikwa Quincy F $ 46,500.00 $ 46,500.00

Jumper Hunter D $ 46,500.00 $ 46,500.00

Kann Alec GK $ 35,125.00 $ 35,125.00

King Brendan M $ 35,125.00 $ 35,125.00

Kinney Steven D $ 46,500.00 $ 46,500.00

Pineda Victor M $ 46,500.00 $ 53,242.42

Tornaghi Paolo GK $ 46,500.00 $ 46,500.00

Videira Michael M $ 46,500.00 $ 47,125.00

One or two of these names can probably be flipped with another player on the 20 man budgeted roster but for our purposes the totals aren't significant enough to make a big difference.

On Loan

Fernandez Alvaro M $ 300,000.00 $ 366,666.67

Gulley Kellen F $ 65,000.00 $ 79,000.00

Puppo Federico F $ 125,000.00 $ 125,000.00

Gulley wouldn't count by virtue of Homegrown status but the other two are still on the books for now although they don't count against the budget. Puppo has another year remaining on his deal although he's essentially taken care of for 2013. Fernandez's loan is up in June so there will be some juggling to do there. If the Fire can't extend the loan it's conceivable that he could return. The question is at what cost to the budget and would he still be considered a DP?

I've asked for clarification on some of these rules directly from the league office and received a polite email in return that basically said, "those are excellent questions - we'll get back to you." That was in February.

I'm not holding my breath for that clarification.

Until then we can take the numbers for what they are. Just enough to get a ballpark look at where the budget amount could be. That ballpark is close enough to tell you that the Fire need to utilize whatever remaining allocation dollars they have this season wisely. Adding players who wouldn't necessarily make an impact before the May 6 deadline just to make a move wouldn't make sense if they're looking to add someone more substantial in the coming weeks or in the July window.

Of course, now they need to add that someone more substantial but that's an entirely different can of worms.

Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Dollars are almost inversely proportional to performance. It's also a shame that somebody like Austin Berry makes less than what he could probably get coming out of a good school like Louisville. These base salaries are terrible.. can't imagine how bad they must be in the NISL. I know MX pays more across the board than MLS, but with all these new stadiums and expansion I would think there would be some more growth here to bring in more US players.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Didn't you hear....MLS is going to be one of the top leagues in the world by 2022.

    But seriously, there's got to be some crawling before the full out sprint. MLS has been stingy in terms of player salaries because they've had to be. It's starting to change but it won't change drastically without big TV money. Until then, guys like Berry will have to wait until their initial contracts with the league expire (usually 4 years) before they can start earning a higher wage either in MLS or overseas.

    That being said...there's no doubt they need to increase that budget number significantly...and soon.

  • that sherjill salary just makes me cringe. too often the fire have missed on the bigger salaried players.

    paladini is a pretty good bargain though. and i know tornaghi doesn't see a lot of playing time, but he's a great deal as well seeing as he's dressed each week and will play this summer with sj presumably playing w/the nats.

  • New England has acquired Juan Agudelo from Chivas USA in exchange for MLS Mystery money. #allocation

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Agudolo is officially a bust...Fredy Adu 2.0.

    Glad the Fire didn't bite for once

  • Toronto FC acquired defender Steven Caldwell (Brimingham City) and striker Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix). Both players are on a loan.

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    I'm amazed at Bone's willingness to stay here in Chicago, he was making what, like 160,000/year last couple seasons? He took a cut down to 49,000 this year.

    Wish Klopas would give Bonesaw some chances, think he could end up being a very cost-effective player.

  • In reply to FireHearts:

    I think they wanted to get him playing time somewhere this year but the lack of depth on the roster (still only 26 active) kept them from a loan move. I think a lot of people would like to see him get a shot somewhere.

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    His high salary was because he was a Generation Adidas player. Thus, Fire didn't take a cap hit. Once his GA status expired, reality set in.

  • Guys isn't it interesting that the worst player on the team makes the most money. Who in the earth makes these kind of decisions for the fire? He is the guy who should be traded

  • Wow,

    This team has totally misspent money. Lots of money for a crap team.

    190,000 for Logan Pause you can find someone with the same skillet for 50,000.

    Lot of bad money overpriced players. We've taken a lot of bad contracts from other teams and now they want to add Soumadre. Can't wait till tr fire take on Henry's contract when he's 42 and had nothing left and NJ wants to dump him for a younger DP

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    $190,000 for your team captain, who has shown during the first 9 games of the season that he can shore up the midfield and play as a serviceable right back, is not too much in my mind. Frankly I was doubting his role before the season began, but the results, combined with repeated testimony from players about his leadership on-field, led me to change my mind.

    If we went by this season's performances only, I would pick on Duka and Rolfe long before Pause as earning more than they deserve. And frankly, seeing as Friedrich has yet to step foot on the pitch, we have to put him on the list as well if we are judging only based on performance. 300K is too much to pay a guy for a year of rehab. Granted the FO did not know he would be in the physio room the entire season, but in terms of value for performance he's not panning out this year.

    Of course it goes without saying that MacDonald would be the first on my chopping block. Note to FO: 2nd division Belgian journeymen do NOT deserve to be DPs.

  • so what you're saying bout being tight against the cap we will probably not see any major moves this summer if they are unable to clear cap space right? so we got that going for us right?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I believe they have room for one, which is why they're not using up space at the moment.

    What they can't do is add Rogers, Soumare, and a DP striker.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Yep. The owners have spent their money. The only thing remaining to be seen is whether we will pony up to finance their bonuses. Count me out.

  • Not gonna lie, I wish they had gone after Agudelo. He's REALLY young, too young IMO to call him a bust so early. Instead they've got a DP who can't score and a back up striker who's now questionable. Pretty hard to keep spinning positive on the club at this point, with the on-field lack of production and results and the off-field ineptitude by way of some of the contracts they've put out on.

    Granted, Flaco looked like a good trade, but it didn't pan out. Lindpere looked like a good trade, and has yet to pan out. Pardo, Friedrich, Grazzini were all solid moves, and they quickly rectified the Robayo and Puppo mistakes, so I'm ok with taking those chances. A deadline move would've been for little more than depth, as GR has eluded to, but trying to keep the chin up while the club is losing it's grip with the fanbase by the day is difficult.

    One has to wonder how much the club's woes this season has to do w/ the players on the pitch, and how much has to do with working under the system they're working under. Flaco, Lindpere, Robayo are all solid soccer players, who by and large have floundered under Klopas. I'm not at the point of throwing FK under the bus for the performance (or lack thereof) on the pitch just yet, but at some point we have to look at the players coming in who've successfully played under other systems, and wonder where the disconnect is taking place.

    Bleh. Maybe I'm just having a debbie downer of a night. Who needs a beer?

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Jeff, valid points made on your arguments. Flaco didn't pan out but at the same time, he isn't tearing up the Qatar Star League either. Same with Robayo, Puppo, or even Barouch. The only player that had an impact with the team was Sebastian Grazzini and at times he couldn't play a full 90 on a weekly basis. Going back to 2011, with Chaves and Puerari weren't difference makers despite of Chaves red hot start and cooled off for the majority of that season. The move that makes me cringe is Oduro for Duka trade. Oduro has had an impact for the Crew despite of having players like Higuain, Arrieta and Gaven around him and Dom doesn't have to rely on double teams as much with Columbus like he dealt with in Chicago.

    If it is a system thing, the FO and the coaching staff have to make adjustments on their approach on acquiring players.

  • I think the only thing that could make the Fire interesting this year is if they bring back both Soumare and Hamlet and let them go at it in midfield at halftime.

  • I think Puppo is on the books through the end of 2014. This says his original contract with us was for three years:

  • In reply to iron81:

    He is....that's what I said above. He has another year remaining but he's on loan for the rest of this season.

  • Big night of soccer coming up. Six MLS games and the Liga Mx playoffs begin.

    DC v Houston draw
    New York over Montreal
    Real Salt Lake over New England
    Sporting KC over Seattle
    FC Dallas v Portland draw
    San Jose over Toronto FC

    the last two weeks have been brutal for picking games though - 36/85 to date

    Monterrey over Tigres
    America v Pumas draw

  • Per's Union beat writer Dave Zeitlin......

    Soumare told me the Union made a "big effort" to trade him to Fire. On whether he could still be traded there: "I wouldn't hold my breath."

  • My starting XI "All Bargain Team" GK: Irwin Def: Hedges, Creavalle, Barklage, Beitasour Mid: Paladini, Steele, Bostick Fwd: Villarreal, Jahn, Sapong. Bench: Gaddis, Gargan, Korb, Powers, F. Castillo, Yeldin, Knighton

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Funny that Gargan is on there. D'oh!!!!!

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    this is one of those classic examples where the common fan asks him/herself, "what the hell are they doing? well, they're the "experts" and must know what they're doing, but it doesn't seem to make much sense"...only to have the question validated down the road that they really didn't know what they were doing. this happened a lot in the jerry angelo and kenny williams years. sometimes i wonder why some people get paid to make decisions that just don't seem to make sense. i would expect that those who seem watch the mls/soccer the most here would probably do as good of a job as those who are paid to make the decisions. maybe i should send them my cv..."experience" - never signed/traded for puppo, robayo, macdonald, nery, flaco, thompson, lindpere, etc., nor did i let gargan walk or cut a good keeper in Busch for nada. how about an interview?

  • Guys. Is the big Mac on the books thru the year. Doesn't his contract stop in July? I thought that they could unload him and add someone else.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    His contract is for 3.5 years.

  • In reply to iron81:

    1.5 years with an option for two more.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    His contract option comes up after the 2013. On a recent podcast I mistakenly said the option was up in July. It appears they're stuck with him until December unless they can find away to unload him before then. Beerschot was interested in bringing him back this past winter but the Fire declined a move. I'm guessing they'd like that one back right about now.

  • I get mad at Andrew not going after big players but seeing how much money was wasted on players that don't make a positive difference I probably wouldn't either. The last DP that earned his paycheck was Blanco. Since then we had several high paid players that made absolutely no impact and I don't blame him not wanting to throw more good money after bad players. I think whoever the first move to correct this is to can the people that are responsible for this mismanagement of money and find people that know how to evaluate players.

  • Bad players are acquired through bad scouting. It starts before Andrew ever signs a check. (Yeah, I know. Metaphorically.)

  • This article has the Fire at the top of the list of bad spenders/management:

  • Wrong link, that was an Altidore piece.

    This should be the bad spenders link:

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Good article, hopefully this is something that the Fire realize. Out of the 6 players they listed I can only justify Nyarko and Pause salary.

  • In reply to john:

    It'll either be a realization, or another article like the ambition rankings that ends up putting the wrong people's jobs on the line again.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    just curious who you think are the right people who should have their jobs on the line?

  • In reply to Drew:

    Our scouting efforts need an upgrade, which is self-evident. Let's start there.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I will be a lot happier when the national soccer press, A./K./A. the press outside Chicago and maybe Houston, stops referencing Oduro as "the one that go away." Dom's a good player, and teammates by all accounts, but he's not the difference maker that was going to turn the current Fire squad around. The Dom loss looks worse when you look at the production, or lack-there-of, from Duka who is the name associated with this trade. If the Fire can convince Rogers to play in Chicago or flip him to LA for allocation money or a player (Magee, please!) I would hope that leads people to stop referring the Dom move akin to trading away a young Drogba.

    Side note: A part of me would find it a delicious irony if the Fire were to trade Rogers rights to Chivas USA, as was mentioned previously. I mean, LA is LA, right?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    "the one that GOT away" *

  • Agreeable and disagreeable points in the article. Duka is still in the "promise" category, and it's safe to say everyone thought Lindpere was going to be a different player. The more time goes by, the more it seems 2013 is to Friedrich what 2012 was to Pardo. It's doubtful much of Flaco's $366k is being picked up by Chicago, but talking about MacDonald commensurate with pay got redundant weeks ago.

    Overall, that snippet by Farley echos what has been said pretty much every day since the MLSPU released the player salaries. Fire player personnel is plagued w/ overpaid, under-performing guys who either get injured too often, or have yet to show up on the pitch. Exceptions exist, no doubt, but an argument can be made that the overall trend is there.

  • The Fire are hosting a Google+ Hangout with Daniel Paladini tomorrow at 12:15.

    They are giving away tickets to the Union game, tickets to the Art of Futbol exhibit, and a signed ball. Art of Futbol is a nice event, I'd recommend going to that one if you can.
    You can send questions on FB via #AskPaladini.

    More details at the official site.

  • Hey, this is cool - the Fire placed two players on Ives Galarcep's All-Overpriced players team!

    You know one of them already (who could miss Big Mac) - who's the second?!?

    This is so awesome. It's better than actually winning games!

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Neither of those two are surprises but let's also remember the Fire aren't footing the entire bill for they've got that going for them.

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