MLS CBA 2020

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413Blue

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I'm hopeful that at least one thing comes from this agreement; a simplified cap structure. Streamline all the TAM/GAM.

Obviously they will keep some specific tools designed to target certain players, but please make it simple for supporters to follow. I've given up trying to analyze our cap and how much space we have because it's not worth the headaches. Even when someone else on here is kind enough to do it for us, I generally put little weight into it because it's filled with so many unknowns.
 
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sbrylski

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I'm hopeful that at least one thing comes from this agreement; a simplified cap structure. Streamline all the TAM/GAM.

Obviously they will keep some specific tools designed to target certain players, but please make it simple for supporters to follow. I've given up trying to analyze our cap and how much space we have because it's not worth the headaches. Even when someone else on here is kind enough to do it for us, I generally put little weight into it because it's filled with so many unknowns.
I wouldn't hold your breath. There's good reasons why they do what they do. (In a nutshell, the salary cap is for American players while allocation money is for foreign players. The low cap limits the inflation of American salaries, while the high cap write-offs via allocation money allow for competitiveness on the international market.)

I don't think we'll see significant simplification until American players have risen to the talent level the league aspires to be at, which may be a long time from now as I would say the league's talent level is rising faster than the American player pool's.

Maybe some simplification on the edges, but overall the awkward structure is going to be around for a while. I'd like to see the minimums rise significantly though, it's ridiculous to me that professional athletes in New York City can earn well less than $100k.
 

Ulrich

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I wouldn't hold your breath. There's good reasons why they do what they do. (In a nutshell, the salary cap is for American players while allocation money is for foreign players. The low cap limits the inflation of American salaries, while the high cap write-offs via allocation money allow for competitiveness on the international market.)

I don't think we'll see significant simplification until American players have risen to the talent level the league aspires to be at, which may be a long time from now as I would say the league's talent level is rising faster than the American player pool's.

Maybe some simplification on the edges, but overall the awkward structure is going to be around for a while. I'd like to see the minimums rise significantly though, it's ridiculous to me that professional athletes in New York City can earn well less than $100k.
At the very least, here should be geography adjustments. If Minimum salaries are kept where they’re at, kick in cost of living adjustments respective of where the club is located. That should at least even the playing field (a bit).

Hell, kick in the adjustments regardless of min salary so that players are paid comparable compensation.
 

mgarbowski

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The Athletic article linked at the top of the thread says charter flights are very low on the players priority list, for the reason Gator suggests. There is support for a substantial raise in the league minimum, because right now too many kids can make more out of college than going into MLS. They also want to change TAM because a $600-800k foreign player can cost less against the cap than a $250-400k US player. And they think the ease with which teams get green cards for incoming players is hurting true or natural domestics, or whatever term you want to use. In the other direction, there was concern that homegrown kids with potential are going overseas too much, and the league needs to do more to incentivize them to stay. There was a mishmash of ideas, including having homegrowns never count against the cap, making supplemental roster spots (which don't count against the cap) more flexible. They also mentioned getting rid of homegrown territories, though I don't see how this helps with cap issues. I think they just want it.

Finally, the article was based not on a widespread poll of players but talks with about 15 guys. That doesn't mean it not representative but, who knows.
 

adam

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The Athletic article linked at the top of the thread says charter flights are very low on the players priority list, for the reason Gator suggests. There is support for a substantial raise in the league minimum, because right now too many kids can make more out of college than going into MLS. They also want to change TAM because a $600-800k foreign player can cost less against the cap than a $250-400k US player. And they think the ease with which teams get green cards for incoming players is hurting true or natural domestics, or whatever term you want to use. In the other direction, there was concern that homegrown kids with potential are going overseas too much, and the league needs to do more to incentivize them to stay. There was a mishmash of ideas, including having homegrowns never count against the cap, making supplemental roster spots (which don't count against the cap) more flexible. They also mentioned getting rid of homegrown territories, though I don't see how this helps with cap issues. I think they just want it.

Finally, the article was based not on a widespread poll of players but talks with about 15 guys. That doesn't mean it not representative but, who knows.
I think getting rid of the territories helps so a kid isn't handcuffed to a team by virtue of where he grew up. If I grew up in the Orlando area, but wanted to train in the Atlanta system, I should be allowed to do so. And Atlanta scouts should be allowed to look at me to give me an invite. Otherwise, I'd find my way to Europe or Mexico rather than play for Orlando as a HG.
 

Ulrich

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HG players should never count against the cap *provided* the team plays them a pre-determined CBA amount of time every year. Provides incentive for a team to develop HG talent and get them in to the first team because it allows the rest of the cap to be pooled to a smaller group of players. Could really assemble a talented team if the HG’s can rise to hold their own as a group.

Imagine having 6-8 HG players good enough to be in the 18 on a regular basis and the other 10-12 “first” teamers get higher value wages.
 

mgarbowski

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I think getting rid of the territories helps so a kid isn't handcuffed to a team by virtue of where he grew up. If I grew up in the Orlando area, but wanted to train in the Atlanta system, I should be allowed to do so. And Atlanta scouts should be allowed to look at me to give me an invite. Otherwise, I'd find my way to Europe or Mexico rather than play for Orlando as a HG.
I still think it doesn't help once you play it out. If you take away geographic territories, then there are a couple of possibilities.

One is that a handful of well run, deep pocket teams create mega-academies that draw players from far and wide. Then the kids turn 17 and there's a massive bottleneck. Atlanta can only roster so many players and play even fewer. What happens to all those kids good enough for MLS but not good enough for the 5 Stripes? Are they tethered to Atlanta against their wishes, and end up either languishing in the Atlanta system or traded to other teams against their will? Be careful what you wish for MLS Players Union. Do you make them free agents who can still leave the country? That does exactly nothing to solve the stated problem. Or do you make them free agents who have to stay in MLS? That's a very good deal for the union, not so good for the kids involved who currently have more freedom.

Second possibility is there are no mega-academies but the best ones poach just a handful of the best players from other regions. That helps those teams, and that small group of players, but again does nothing to fix the stated problem, or help the greater number of developing kids. Sucks to be a very good but not outstanding talent in Florida when the best prospects leave and you're stuck in Orlando with the also-rans before your career even begins. Also, when are they allowed to do this poaching? Picking the best 11-year olds is not exactly a high probability endeavor. Or will they be allowed to sign away 15-16 year olds after they have developed in other teams' academies? I don't see that turning out well, or at all.
 
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SoupInNYC

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The Athletic article linked at the top of the thread says charter flights are very low on the players priority list, for the reason Gator suggests. There is support for a substantial raise in the league minimum, because right now too many kids can make more out of college than going into MLS. They also want to change TAM because a $600-800k foreign player can cost less against the cap than a $250-400k US player. And they think the ease with which teams get green cards for incoming players is hurting true or natural domestics, or whatever term you want to use. In the other direction, there was concern that homegrown kids with potential are going overseas too much, and the league needs to do more to incentivize them to stay. There was a mishmash of ideas, including having homegrowns never count against the cap, making supplemental roster spots (which don't count against the cap) more flexible. They also mentioned getting rid of homegrown territories, though I don't see how this helps with cap issues. I think they just want it.

Finally, the article was based not on a widespread poll of players but talks with about 15 guys. That doesn't mean it not representative but, who knows.
I think the league may finally be in a position to raise the minimum salary as well as the quality coming out of the academies is raising the American talent floor.

Previously, having a higher minimum salary would just result in too much being paid for guys like Tommy McNamara and the domestic player spots would end up handi-capping teams as the demand for quality Americans would shoot those salaries up.

But now a lot more talented Americans are entering the league that this risk is a bit mitigated, and it's even to the point (as you point out), some of these guys have more of an incentive to head to Europe, and it's not just because of talent levels, or wanting to play in Europe, its because of actual compensation.
 

NickA

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Didn't the players want free agency last contract and was shut down? Think that would be good for the league as a whole.
 

mgarbowski

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And even when free agency does apply it's so limited that the league will bend its own rules to get around it (see Alonso, Ozzie).
What happened there. I tried to look it up and as best as I can tell, both of these things are true:
  • Alonso was a free agent
  • Seattle traded him to Minnesota
Which doesn't make sense, except, MLS. But I can't find any good explanation.
 

dummyrun

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What happened there. I tried to look it up and as best as I can tell, both of these things are true:
  • Alonso was a free agent
  • Seattle traded him to Minnesota
Which doesn't make sense, except, MLS. But I can't find any good explanation.
I think the basic story was:

(1) By the rules Ozzie should have been a free agent after Seattle chose not to re-sign him
(2) Minnesota wanted him, but the free agent rule wouldn't let them pay him more than the max budget charge
(3) Presumably this made him explore options outside MLS
(4) So the league came up with a workaround allowing Minnesota to sign him off waivers at a TAM salary

Tenorio did some reporting on it at the time, and Stjeskal might have too, but the whole thing was still kind of murky.
 

sbrylski

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Some updates on the player's demands for the next CBA:

* * *

"Higher wages. In 2019, a senior level, non-DP had an average salary of almost $350,000.

Simplification of compensation, which means elimination of Designated Players, Targeted Allocation Money and General Allocation Money.

Increase in charter flights for games. Teams are allowed a maximum of four per season under the current CBA.

Relaxed qualifications for free agency. The current CBA requires players to be at least 28 years old or have at least eight years in the league and not be under contract.

Shared revenue from media rights deals. New deals will start in 2023. The current deal was worth $90 million."


* * *

I'm very interested to see what they do with allocation money and if they really simplify things.

I think they should stop counting transfer fees against the salary cap because its an investment that may appreciate, or at least they should give teams a full credit for the net gain in outgoing transfers spread out over time (e.g., a $10 million purchase sold two years later for $20 million earns the team a $2 million cap increase for each of the next five years).

Then you could simplify the rest to something like:
  • Maximum of 3 players over $1mm annual wages
  • Maximum of 11 players over $250k annual wages (including the players above $1mm, if any)
  • Maximum of 5 international players earning under $250k
I'm just spittballing, but this would (1) simplify requirements, (2) increase spending, (3) increase importation of foreign talent, (4) reduce any "premium" placed on Americans due to the current limited international slots but (5) require American depth for the squad rotation required to take the next step as a club.

The max spend per roster spot would be:
  • Spot 1-3: Unliminited
  • Spot 4-11: $1mm
  • Spot 12-18: $250k
If we assume a rather high spend on 1-3 of $5mm each, those 18 spots would total $15mm + $8mm + $1.75mm = $24.75mm.

Set the cap for the 18-highest paid players at between $20mm and $25mm, increasing 5% each year, and let teams use it if they want. Current highest spends on wages, for reference:
  1. Toronto FC - $22,122,190
  2. LA Galaxy - $18,514,139
  3. Chicago Fire - $16,907,431
  4. LAFC - $13,162,193
  5. Sporting KC - $13,013,584
 
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