The final list of players released by MLS doesn't include Tchani, but does have Birchall, James, and Hesmer on it.
The league released the final list of Re-Entry eligible players tonight. One name was notably absent from the four that were initially listed; Tony Tchani appears to have withdrawn from the process. This usually means the player is about to sign a new contract.
Tchani's option was likely quite high coming off of his original Generation Adidas deal. His base salary was $105,000, but his guaranteed compensation rose to over $200,000. The Crew were unlikely to keep him unless he took a substantial pay cut.
Several other attractive options are also off the board for the same reason. Left back Gonzalo Segares reworked his contract with the Chicago Fire. Winger Justin Mapp is likely to stay with the Montreal Impact after he withdrew. Steven King and Marvell Wynne are a couple more names off the board.
Chris Birchall, William Hesmer, and Julius James remain on the list. That's unsurprising as Birchall and James already tweeted their thanks to Crew fans earlier this week. Hesmer was always unlikely to return at the salary the Crew could probably afford. All three fell victim to the salary cap game.
Tchani can certainly be a useful player, but not at his option price. He struggled with form throughout the year and was maddeningly inconsistent at times. He did show flashes of promise with two goals and two assists. He'd likely not be a starter going into 2013 as he's behind Milovan Mirosevic on the depth chart in central midfield and doesn't have the skill set to play defensive midfield.
Most teams aren't going to make a move during the first stage. Any options a player has are immediately picked up and many of the players on the list are expensive. Only players at the bottom of the pay scale are going to get a look. Most of the action will happen next Friday during the second stage. Contracts can be reworked at that time and teams are willing to take a chance to get the right pieces into place.