The last time we looked at the details of the CBA there were pieces of the agreement that were still not public. Brian Strauss of SI.com and Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel, in different interviews with Bob Foose of the MLSPU, released some more of the details. I'll try to put a Union lens on the latest.
New details of the CBA
The salary cap limits were revealed. There will be a 21 percent increase in the cap in 2015 followed by annual increases of 7 percent for the remaining. That puts the cap at $3.74M for 2015. Apparently this number includes allocation money which inflates the growth rate somewhat, because there was an allocation fund available to teams in prior seasons. The salary cap will grow to $4.88M in 2019. Overall that should put salary growth at least in line with potential revenue growth. With another CBA due before the 2020 season, I think that number puts the players and the league in striking distance of being competitive with the rest of the world in the next decade. But this deal doesn't add enough salary to the league to get them there yet.
Rosters were indeed cut from a maximum of 30 players to 28. Shrinking the rosters will in essence increase the average salary of the remaining players by a small amount. The players that will no longer make the team will likely play for the USL affiliates and their salaries would not have counted against the cap anyway, as only senior roster spots (1-20 last season) count against the cap. The Union currently have 27 players on the roster so there must be some wiggle room below 28 like there was in the last CBA.
One detail from the SI article that is interesting is that the $60,000 minimum salary was only for senior roster players. Many reports surfaced that the minimum salary increased by 64%. This turned out not to be the case. So players like Raymond Lee, who were just drafted and made the team will make "a little less" than $60K. The Orlando Sentinel article says that non senior roster player will make more than $50,000, a 37% increase from the previous minimum of $36,500. It's still a nice increase for minimum wage players but not as much as originally thought.
While Designated Players and related roster rules are not collectively bargained, it appears as though the Designated Player limit will stay at 3 spots for 2015. That can change before the next CBA. It is unclear exactly how many Designated Players are on the roster for the Union. The official public page provided by MLS isn't updated to include Aristegueita, who was announced as a young DP. According to this then the Union have used all three DP slots. But wait! Jonathan Tannenwald says differently!
An update on the Union’s roster: Cristian Maidana is no longer a Designated Player because his transfer fee has been covered in full now.— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) March 6, 2015
Obviously the difference is important. If Maidana is not a DP then the Union could potentially be looking to land a DP, if they desire, during the summer transfer window.
And then there is the curious case of Rais M'Bolhi and his Designated Player status. During the expansion draft Rais was listed as a DP but now he does not even appear on MLS' list of former DPs.
In the next roster post we'll take a look at where the Union stand in relation to the cap. Of course we'll never know for sure, but it certainly is fun to guess.