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MLSPA releases final 2019 MLS and Crew salaries

What has changed since the June salary release and where does that leave the Crew moving into 2020?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Atlanta United FC Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Soccer Player’s Association released an updated report of player salaries for the remainder of the 2019 season on Friday.

Following the MLSPA salary release in June, we analyzed the current state of the Columbus Crew SC roster based on its salaries. Of note from that June release is that Gyasi Zardes’ new Designated Player deal sees him make just under $1.5 million per season which puts him within the threshold where he can be bought down by Targeted Allocation Money. As a reminder, the threshold for a DP contract is $530,000 and for a TAM buy down is between $530,000 and $1.5 million.

Currently, the Crew has three Designated Players: Gyasi Zardes at $1.5 million, Pedro Santos at $817,560, and Luis Diaz at $300,000. Diaz is a Young DP; as a 20-year old his salary counts as $150,000 against the cap. Both Zardes and Santos are within the TAM threshold, though Santos, should he stay in Columbus, will be playing under a new contract in 2020. David Accam is also far above the DP threshold but has been bought down with TAM.

Today’s salary release does not tell us anything new about the Black & Gold’s roster from the June release but does provide a window in to the team’s spending during the 2019 season. Let’s take a look at the salaries.

Late 2019 Columbus Crew SC Salaries

Last Name First Name Team 2019 Base 2019 Guaranteed
Last Name First Name Team 2019 Base 2019 Guaranteed
Accam David Columbus Crew $1,010,004 $1,137,920
Afful Harrison Columbus Crew $288,100 $363,800
Argudo Luis Columbus Crew $57,225 $57,225
Artur Columbus Crew $360,000 $411,633
Cadden Chris Columbus Crew $56,250 $56,250
Clark Ricardo Columbus Crew $160,000 $160,000
Crognale Alex Columbus Crew $104,504 $104,504
Diaz Luis Columbus Crew $300,000 $333,900
Francis Waylon Columbus Crew $160,000 $199,167
Guzman David Columbus Crew $320,000 $340,000
Hamilton Jordan Columbus Crew $124,992 $137,658
Higuain Federico Columbus Crew $1,100,000 $1,100,000
Jimenez Hector Columbus Crew $200,000 $200,000
Keita Aboubacar Columbus Crew $90,000 $110,000
Kempin Jonathan Columbus Crew $71,664 $71,664
Lundgaard Ben Columbus Crew $57,225 $57,225
Maloney Connor Columbus Crew $70,250 $70,250
Mensah Jonathan Columbus Crew $800,004 $894,004
Mokhtar Youness Columbus Crew $459,996 $533,845
Opoku Edward Columbus Crew $85,000 $106,000
Room Eloy Columbus Crew $300,000 $354,694
Santos Pedro Columbus Crew $817,560 $864,560
Sosa Eduardo Columbus Crew $100,000 $120,200
Trapp Wil Columbus Crew $549,996 $593,746
Valenzuela Milton Columbus Crew $290,000 $321,300
Williams Joshua Columbus Crew $215,000 $215,000
Williams JJ Columbus Crew $95,000 $149,750
Williams Romario Columbus Crew $78,650 $78,650
Zardes Gyasi Columbus Crew $1,421,667 $1,471,667

The Crew has parted ways with seven players from the June salary report. Joe Bendik was sent to the Philadelphia Union, Lalas Abubakar went on loan to the Colorado Rapids, Nico Hansen is now on the Houston Dynamo, Robinho plies his trade for Orlando City, Patrick Mullins moved north to Toronto FC, Gaston Sauro joined Toluca of Liga MX, and Zack Steffen left Columbus for Dusseldorf via Manchester City. In total, the Crew moved on from $1.4 million in base salary. Add in Justin Meram’s $650,000 salary and the Black & Gold shed more than $2 million during this season.

What did the Crew do with that $2 million? They added some much-needed replacements. The two most notable replacements thus far have been Diaz and goalkeeper Eloy Room. The 20-year-old Diaz has two goals and three assists in his 11 matches with Columbus and has looked like a great value signing at $300,000. Room also has provided an excellent value also at $300,000 in base salary, just a hair above Steffen’s $260,000 that certainly would have risen in future years.

The Black & Gold also added two auxiliary strikers during the summer window, acquiring Romario Williams from Atlanta and Jordan Hamilton from Toronto FC. Williams and Hamilton are both depth players at the moment but both are young enough (25 and 23) to be potential replacements for Zardes in the distant future. Hamilton comes in at $125,000 in base salary while Williams earns $78,650, solid deals for two players with promise.

Another notable addition is Dutch midfielder Youness Mokhtar who was signed on a free transfer and earns a TAM-adjusted-for-midseason $460,000 in base salary. At 27, Mokhtar is likely a finished product. He’s shown flashes of promise during his brief time with the Crew but will be expected to contribute goals and assists as a play-making winger in 2020.

The final summer addition is a player that most Columbus fans have yet to see play. Scottish defender Chris Cadden signed with the Black & Gold as a free agent and was immediately loaned to Oxford United in the English League One. Cadden has mostly lined up as a right back for Oxford and showed well during his loan providing two assists in nine matches. At only 23, Cadden is a signing for the future, though his form at Oxford suggest he might be ready to step into a starting role. The Scot’s currently MLS salary is listed at $56,000 but that will likely be different next season. The MLSPA notes that deals affecting 2020 salary won’t be reflected here, so it’s a guessing game as to Cadden’s salary in 2020.

In total, the Crew added six players making about $1.3 million collectively in base salary. This suggests that the new ownership group is willing to spend money, but would prefer to do so efficiently and effectively rather than spending for spending’s sake. There will certainly be additions and subtractions before the first match in 2020, and the front office is in position to take advantage of wealthy owners and intelligent spending to make the most of those roster changes.