The Philadelphia Union are going to undergo some significant roster changes during this upcoming offseason. This shouldn't be construed as news - most teams undergo roster shakeups during any given offseason. The Union however will definitely have decisions to make about seven players, however it could be that as many as 23 are facing a renegotiation, transfer or end of contract.
According to our numbers, the Union have the ability to clear as much as $4.03 million in base salary and $4.46 million in guaranteed compensation. That said, they should not come close to that number, as not all of the players whose contracts we believe to be coming up for expiration this year should be sent packing. A more realistic number is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 to $2.5 million dollars. In a salary cap league, this is still a huge amount of money that can be much better allocated.
We got the salary numbers from the latest release of information from the Major League Soccer Players’ Union. The contract lengths were a little harder to track down, but through press releases, Transfermarkt.com information, and the infamous white board we were able to confirm with a fair degree of certainty our information. We reached out to the Union for comment, but as of publishing time those requests had gone unanswered.
Players we know
Maurice Edu $750,000.00 ($818,750.00) - Designated Player: Edu is the hard luck story of the Union. Signed back in 2014 on loan from Stoke City, Edu hasn’t played for the Union since September 20, 2015 due to a list of injuries: a groin injury, stress fractures, and a broken leg. The Union have clearly moved on from the 31-year-old Edu, as evidenced by the signing of Haris Medunjanin as the team’s current central defensive midfielder. This is a large chunk of change for the Union, and it will be important for the Union to not only free up the Designated Player slot but move on psychologically as well.
Ilsinho $470,000.00 ($518,333.33) - International: Ilsinho is another player that has not lived up to his potential with the Philadelphia Union. This season, the 31-year-old has been serviceable at the 10, but for the amount of money he’s making he should be playing at a much better level than “serviceable” either on the wing or at the 10.
Roland Alberg $345,000.00 ($394,250.00) - International: 27-year-old Alberg has not materialized into the Tranquillo Barnetta replacement that the Union so desperately needed him to be. From showing up to camp 15-20 pounds overweight to his public spat with CJ Sapong, Alberg’s inability to seize upon any opportunity will likely lead to him not returning.
Fabinho $159,759.00 ($167,759.00): Fabinho has been a loyal servant of the club at left back since arriving from Sydney FC in 2013, but his playing time has severely diminished thanks to the arrival of Giliano Wijnaldum. At 32, Fabinho may still have some gas left in the tank. He could be re-signed as a backup, or a role at Bethlehem Steel FC mentoring young talent.
Richie Marquez $133,000.00 ($139,430.00): Marquez had stellar seasons for the Union in 2015 and 2016, but in 2017 he has fallen off of the map. I still think the 25-year-old center back is quality enough to warrant re-signing, and his price tag certainly means he fits in the Union’s budget.
Brian Carroll $132,000.00 ($140,000.00): It’s time for the yearly game of “Will Brian Carroll retire?” We were sure after last season that was going to be it, just like we were sure the season before and probably the season before that. Still, the 36-year-old Carroll is just as liable to try and return for 2017 before hanging them up for good and hopefully going into a coaching role with the club.
Derrick Jones $65,000.00 ($70,900.00) - Homegrown Player: This should be a no-brainer. The 20-year-old Jones is one of the brightest young stars in MLS and the Union would be wise to re-sign him
Players we’re pretty sure of (but can’t confirm)
Jay Simpson $465,000.00 ($508,333.33) - International: If there’s one small silver lining to the Jay Simpson signing, it’s that it’s probably almost over. Almost half a million dollars in salary to be a bench option behind CJ Sapong is bad. Almost half a million dollars in salary to be a bench option behind CJ Sapong and not contributing much of anything with the opportunities given is just awful.
Chris Pontius $400,000.00 ($431,000.00): Pontius has seen his career re-born in Philadelphia. He lead the team in goals in 2016 and is a fixture on Bruce Arena’s United States National Team roster. He’s seen his numbers suffer this season as he’s been switched over to the right, but he’s still a pretty integral part of the Union’s offense. If the Union can figure out what to do with him, they would do well to re-sign the 30-year-old winger - even if it’s to trade.
Josh Yaro $130,000.00 ($194,000.00) - Generation adidas: The 22-year-old Yaro has mostly done well in his first two seasons (this past weekend’s performance against the Montreal Impact aside). Still, Yaro has missed more games than he’s played in due to injury problems. Being labeled brittle is a harsh sentence for an MLS center back, so the Union should look to re-sign the player at or around the same amount of money until he proves he can be consistent and healthy.
Fafa Picault $114,999.96 ($128,666.63): Picault has been a revelation for the Union, doing well enough to force Chris Pontius to move from the left to the right. Re-signing the 26-year-old should be an absolute no-brainer for the Union.
Fabian Herbers $110,000.00 ($135,500.00) - Generation adidas: Herbers has been sidelined for much of the season with a sports hernia, but he has emerged as a threat both at center forward as well as right wing. Provided there is no long-lasting damage, the Union should absolutely look to re-sign the 23-year-old.
Charlie Davies $108,960.00 ($114,684.94): Davies is perhaps one of the unluckiest guys in soccer. Between the injuries and illnesses, he was also signed behind a red-hot CJ Sapong and a half a million dollar Jay Simpson. Who knows what 31-year-old Davies’ future holds, as arguments could be made for both retaining him and allowing him to go.
Keegan Rosenberry $104,500.00 ($110,312.50): After a Rookie of the Year caliber season in 2016, Rosenberry now finds himself behind a red-hot Ray Gaddis on the depth chart. The talent is still there, and provided he’s been able to handle this season’s ups and downs like a pro, there’s no reason not to re-sign him.
Auston Trusty $75,000.00 ($104,100.00) - Homegrown Player: The 19-year-old center back is still very much a project for the Union, but definitely a good value and has the talent to excel in the league. No reason why the Union shouldn’t re-sign him.
Oguchi Onyewu $65,004.00 ($65,004.00): Remember when we all wondered what the 35-year-old center back could possibly offer the Union? For the price, possibly the best deal in MLS. If he’s interested in another season at or around what he’s making now, there’s no reason to not re-sign him.
Giliano Wijnaldum $65,004.00 ($78,337.33) - International: It took a while, but the 24-year-old Dutch left back has cemented himself at a position that has historically been shaky for the Union. Definitely re-sign him.
Adam Najem $65,000.04 ($65,000.04) - Homegrown Player: Absolutely no reason not to re-sign the 22-year-old attacking midfielder, especially when you consider what the Union gave up to get him and how high his ceiling is.
Ken Tribbett $65,000.00 ($65,000.00): The much maligned 24-year-old has done some re-tooling while at Bethlehem Steel FC, honing his skills as a central defensive midfielder. At his price and at the positions he’s able to play, the Union could do far worse.
Jack Elliott $53,004.00 ($53,004.00) - International: 21-year-old Elliott has had his name in the Rookie of the Year conversation lately, however he was definitely not at his best against Montreal this past Saturday. Still, he’s been a consistent performer and has the tools to become a top center back in the league. Definitely re-sign him.
Marcus Epps $53,004.00 ($53,004.00): The 22-year-old winger has tons of potential and is priced right for the Union. No reason not to bring him back.
Aaron Jones $53,004.00 ($53,004.00): Another promising young player at the right price, although the Union are deep at right back with Gaddis and Rosenberry. Still, the 23-year-old could be an asset - especially if either of the aforementioned are injured or moved.
Jake McGuire $53,004.00 ($53,004.00): We’ve all heard the speculation about Andre Blake’s impending move to anywhere but MLS. We all know John McCarthy has proven himself a suitable replacement for Blake. While it’s still too early to sign 16-year-old Tomas Romero to a pro contract, 22-year-old McGuire is a decent depth option at the right price.