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Union salary and roster update: Bedoya is Union first million dollar man

The Major League Soccer Players Union released the salaries of all MLS players last week. Here's a look at how things are shaping up for the Philadelphia Union.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

When Alejandro Bedoya signed with the Union it was widely reported that his base salary was around $1 million dollars, and now with the release of the player salaries by the MLSPU it's confirmed that Bedoya is the Union's first million dollar player. His base salary is $1.1 million, and he is the second Designated Player on the roster, alongside Maurice Edu.

Below is the list of Union roster players and their salaries and an estimate of what their salary cap hit is in 2016. It's an estimate because fans aren't informed exactly how GAM (General Allocation Money) and TAM (Targeted Allocated Money) are spent. That money provided by the league is used to "buy down" player salaries below the salary cap of $3.66 million.

One other note is that the Union currently list 29 players on their roster. This is odd because the MLS maximum is 28. Perhaps the Union released a player and haven't updated their site, or perhaps there is a person on the injured list that allows the extra player. So this roster is only an estimate of how the real one might look. I removed the most recent addition Kevin Kratz because he is paid closed to the senior minimum salary.

union salary september 2016

The Union are paying guaranteed compensation greater than $6 million this year. and that doesn't include the portions of salaries paid to Vincent Nogueira (roughly $400,000/yr) and Sebastien Le Toux (roughly $300,000/yr). That number also does not include transfer fees paid for Roland Alberg and Bedoya. The removal of Nogueira and Le Toux from the roster allowed the Union to sign Bedoya while creating a reasonably comfortable salary cap situation for the Union going forward.

As it stands, the Union are just $325,607 over the cap before transfer fees and allocation money are accounted for - all things considered, that's not a big number. Bedoya's hit will go up next year as he will count a full year against the cap, but with the news that Tranquillo Barnetta will end his career in Switzerland, his departure will more than offset the added cost. The Union should definitely be able to add high quality talent in the offseason.

A troubling aspect to this view is the contributions of the top paid players. Take a look at top nine paid players on the Union. Five of them are either injured or on the bench. Bedoya, Barnetta, Chris Pontius and CJ Sapong are the only starters in that nine. The other five are currently not contributing at all with the exception of Roland Alberg who has been a solid contributor offensively, but is currently not getting big minutes.

In MLS, teams have to spend their money efficiently. The Union have done well getting quality from underpaid starters but they have also squandered a good portion of their cap without getting a sufficient return. The Union may yet make a playoff run and turn this team into one to remember, but from a salary perspective fans should expect more quality is around the corner.