A league source has told the Brotherly Game that Freddy Adu negotiated a salary of around $425,000 with MLS.
The 22-year-old has had plenty of speculation regarding his contract status, with multiple reporters citing sources saying that Adu either is or isn't a designated player.
Soccer By Ives and Fox Soccer's Ives Galarcep originally reported that one of his sources indicated Adu would be the Union's first ever designated player, but then Galarcep later tweeted that another source had a differing opinion on the matter. Grant Wahl, of SI.com, tweeted around the same time that the "Philadelphia Union [say] Adu is not a DP, which wasn't the impression Adu was under when he signed."
Wahl went on to tweet that it's "possible/likely that Adu is earning "DP" salary that's paid down by allocation money so that he doesn't count as official DP."
At $425,000, Adu would most likely count as a designated player, unless the Union were to pay down his salary to $335,000 or less, the maximum salary amount allowed under the cap. The Union have done the same for starting goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, whose $396,666.67 salary qualifies as a designated player amount, but the Union most likely used the $70,000 in allocation money from not using roster spots 29 and 30 to pay it down to under the maximum allowed by MLS.
Even prorating Adu's salary will put him at a higher salary hit than Carlos Ruiz's cap hit. At $425,000 and 22 games into the season, Adu would count as a designated player and hit the Union for $167,000, the half-season designated player cap hit. At the $335,000 rate that is more likely to be what the Union have pursued for this season (through allocation money buying down the salary), Adu's cap hit would be around $118,000, though the buying down could be based upon the real prorated hit of $425,000, which is $150,000, and affect that.