Ahead of Thursday's first round of the annual Re-Entry Draft the Fire have announced that 10 player options have been exercised and another 8 have been declined. The players who may be on the move include Mike Videira, Corben Bone, Joel Lindpere, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Kellen Gulley, Chris Rolfe, and Maicon Santos although Frank Yallop has left the door open for some to return. The new Director of Soccer has already stated that he'd like to have Pause and Gulley back and the Fire are actively trying to keep Rolfe. It's likely that both sides will agree to a restructured deal before the Re-Entry Draft takes place on Thursday afternoon or the second round is completed a week later.
The ten whose contract options have been picked up for 2014 include Sean Johnson, Alec Kann, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Hunter Jumper, Steven Kinney, Alex, Brendan King, Victor Pineda, and Quincy Amarikwa. They join Gonzalo Segares, Bakary Soumare, Dilly Duka, Jeff Larentowicz, Patrick Nyarko, Juan Luis Anangono, and Mike Magee as players committed contractually for 2014. That's not to say that all of these names are assured to return to Chicago next season as it appears Yallop is looking to hit the trade market if deals are there to be had.
Yallop may be active in Re-Entry or via trade with the Fire in search of a veteran back-up goalkeeper. Vancouver has made Joe Cannon, Yallop's former 'keeper in San Jose available and Toronto FC's Stefan Frei can also be had. The complete list of players available on Thursday has some impressive names on it but most of these moves have been made with cap/budget considerations in mind. Some of the more expensive contracts will likely preclude any big moves this week and postpone acquisitions for most teams until Phase 2 when salaries can be renegotiated after a player is chosen.
The Fire will select eighth in the Re-Entry draft but whether or not they claim anyone on day one this year is questionable. While they are trying to clear budget space it probably won't make sense to lock into another substantial deal unless they feel that player can be a difference maker. One name that does stand out for me is Los Angeles defender Sean Franklin, a versatile player who can play outside on defense and on the wings. Franklin did pull down $248,333.33 in guaranteed compensation last season which will likely keep suitors away on day one if he doesn't end up back in Los Angeles under a renegotiated deal.
Of the eight player options declined it's a sure thing that Lindpere and Santos won't be back clearing up more valuable budget space. Pause, Rolfe, and Gulley seem likely to return under new deals and there is also a chance that Bone or even Paladini can get another shot if they make it through the draft process unclaimed. Shaun Francis and Wells Thompson are out of contract and not likely to return.
Fire Confidential Podcast
Check out the latest episode of the podcast featuring discussion about player moves, MLS Cup, rumors, assistant coaches (could CJ Brown be on his way back?), and more.