Out of contract forward Jack McInerney signed a new deal today, but was traded to the Portland Timbers to complete the deal. Columbus Crew SC announced they recieved General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money for the forward.
McInerney's stay in Columbus was brief. He joined Crew SC via trade from the Montreal Impact on August 4th for a 2016 second round draft pick. McInerney would augment the forward corps as Kei Kamara's backup. McInerney would appear in five games, including two starts. He scored two goals in Black & Gold, including the winner in a 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City on August 22nd.
Head Coach Gregg Berhalter reasoned in a release, "We felt this move put Jack in the best position to secure more playing time this year in MLS". According to Berhalter, the benefits for Crew SC would be "salary cap flexibility" in moves building the 2016 roster.
Berhalter and staff will need that flexibility. Kamara is the only forward currently on the roster. Aaron Schoenfeld is also out of contract and Maccabi Netanya has had him on trial and is reportedly impressed with what they see.
General Allocation Money can be used to buy down a budget charge due to salary or transfer fee. Targeted Allocation Money can be used to sign players with contract values under $1 million. Getting both means that Crew SC has some flexibility to lower cap hit of players on the book like Kamara, Gaston Sauro, or Federico Higuain, all of whom make over the Designated Player threshold according to the MLS Players Association salary figures.
GAM and TAM would also allow Crew SC to be active on the transfer market if they choose to look outside MLS. The team is continually scouting and the loss of McInerney and possibly Schoenfeld would be cushioned with the arrival of a quality international.
The Allocation Monies are also useful in trade. With the MLS Draft tomorrow, Crew SC could be stockpiling assets to trade up and pick up an offensive player. The 2016 Draft is not seen as exceptionally deep, but Berhalter and staff may have identified someone that could help.
With Berhalter's well earned reputation for meticulousness, the McInerney trade may signal Crew SC are ready to move on another target to augment the striker corps.