Credit to [Steve Fenn](https://mobile.twitter.com/StatHunting/status/1526622785052856320#.)


Really great chart, thanks for sharing.


That's awesome. Thanks for doing that. It's amazing how much the overall pay structure has risen. There's been a few high end teams for years, but the mid and bottom have skyrocketed the last few years. One UI thing -- when you change the year, the team name shifts to a lighter gray that's really hard to read (and doesn't go back). Not sure if there's a fix for that.


Shocked how low we are on the list. The deals we have for Bravo, Ayala, Moreno, Ivacic, Tuiloma, McGraw, Loria, and even Williamson are pretty great, considering all these players can be starters any week.


I thought Portland would be closer to our spend. The fact your spend is only at ~10mil really good


I feel like Portland has spent more on transfer fees over the last couple of years. So their net spend might be a bit closer.


Room at 800k is crazy. He is scamming Columbus.


At this point i blame Porter more than any individual player.


This one is on Bez, Room was at 480k last year.




This is amazing, I'll make sure to use it when people complain about MLS not improving quality enough over the years. The graph in the bottom right does a really good job of showing the increase in % of highly paid players over the years which is certainly reflected in the quality of play.


FC Dallas would have a decent wage structure if they could just find a way to get rid of Franco Jara. How are we paying him 3.2 million dollars a year?


He does feel like a void that money is thrown into. So many good decisions made recently that are weighed down by him being ineffectual.


To be fair, he is ok when he’s on the field and a functional piece of the team, just nowhere near being worth the DP threshold


Yeah fair enough, he’s definitely a solid back up. He does his role well. It’s just not the one we wish it was. One more year on that contract right? Urg, no way we buy him out though.


Man Cabral taking up a large green chunk when he should be a dark gray tiny square. Shit sucks man


Cabral is one of my favorite players to watch. Our back line wishes they could kill Galaxy attacks as fast and frequent as he does.


We’re owned by the same group that owns Arsenal… bruh.


we'd be lowest in the league if not for the Zardes move. Yikes.


We’re paying Danny Hoesen $717,000 for 372 minutes over nine appearances, good for one goal and no assists since the start of last season. And we’re paying Rodney Redes $413,000 to annoy me personally.


Better than the Loons paying Hunou 2.4 mill for 85 minutes this season.


Feel like we could do a $20 million hard cap, $10 million floor, and keep 3 DPs. Just do away with allocation money.


In your idea, do the DP's count against that 20M hard cap?


I feel like they should count for a portion of it like they do now. And then the rest of the salaries count as what the annual amount like in the nfl. Toronto is going to paying $15 million to Insigne. I doubt they’d want to pay $5 million to fill the rest of the team. Again this is without any allocation in place to buy down cap hits or anything.


Not going to happen if the league itself keeps paying for the salaries. That would be over 300 million per year at minimum when it hits 30 teams.


I thought doing away with allocation money meant the teams would foot payroll and not the league anymore?


Depends on the bucket. GAM is from the league. TAM is discretionary and comes from the clubs.


This makes me curious. When teams trade TAM, are they trading actual cash or just the accounting mechanism, or both? If Red Bulls gives 200k TAM to Cincinnati, are bank accounts actually involved? Or does the league just move numbers on a spreadsheet?


I believe you would be trading the accounting mechanism, allowing the purchasing team to now spend *up to* their new aggregate TAM level for the season. Most trades have involved GAM because it's a less complicated evaluation. And I believe teams are [no longer allowed to trade TAM](https://www.americansocceranalysis.com/home/2020/11/23/making-the-most-from-trading-setting-your-team-up-for-success-in-the-mls-transfer-market) since the new CBA. >Additionally, at their discretion, a team can purchase up to $2.8 million TAM to buy down a player’s budget charge. However, unlike GAM, TAM cannot be traded and may be somewhat restricted by the league on which players it can be used on.


Random, but I love the fact there are other folks who are as into the weeds of MLS roster mechanisms as I.


Honestly appreciate you saying so! I enjoy the complex nonsense and ever-evolving financial mechanisms. Sifting through data is fun to me and it's always nice to see others find that same appreciation. Cheers, bud!


If I remember right, and this was a few years ago, the league pays for all contracts not over the max salary threshold, meaning everyone under the 600K+ threshold is being paid directly by the league not the owners. Again this was from around 2017-2020 that I read this, so I might be wrong


You want to raise the salary cap 4x? That seems real silly. I think until we stop expanding, slow growth with the cap is wise. We're already diluting talent and throwing in huge roster rebuilds in the mix would be wild.


Maybe I’m reading the numbers wrong but teams are already spending between $10-$20 million in salary. With allocation money it’s bought down so it fits within the current budget. Why not do away with all these extra accounting terms and just have a hard cap?


Because allocation money is meant to encourage a specific type of spending to bring in higher tier players. Because we have domestic player quotas, getting rid of allocation would likely just cause an increase in cost of domestic players without increasing the quality of the league. One can argue that that's not necessarily a bad thing in the long term, but it would probably hurt short term quality of play IMO.


this is the correct answer... wish others would read and understand your logic here.


Personally I wouldn’t put a limit on internationals but that would hinder domestic players more since they wouldn’t be able to get any playing time. Increasing quality should be MLS’ priority but they can’t really do it without increasing salary budgets. Adding more mechanisms I feel would just make things more complicated than having a set cap but I agree with your points.


Putting a limit on internationals is one of the big reasons the floor quality has risen for both the US and MLS so I can't imagine them getting rid of that any time soon. It highly encourages clubs to invest in youth academies, along with homegrown player rules. Most top leagues have the same rule, so I don't see it as much of a hinderance for potential growth.


One option would be that HGPs never count towards the cap (if the league moved towards a hard cap); the other would be retaining some mechanism that lets teams reinvest transfer fees earned into the roster. (The $1.1m cap on GAM for transfers is just starting to look dumb.)


THANK YOU for pointing that out. Most of the discussion about the salary cap ignores the fact that its primary effect is restricting what domestic talent is paid (since even if a player might be able to say, make slightly more if they moved to the Belgian league, I mean, are they? And are they going to get scouted? No, not often.)


22 teams are spending $10-$15m and you want to put a cap floor on those clubs, and that just seems like a shortsighted move. Not everyone is Seattle, Atlanta or LA and forcing clubs to spend like them seems like a recipe for disaster. Allocation money under single entity makes sense. It might not be ideal but we are still like 20 years removed from the league nearly collapsing. Let's continue the pace of growth we're on, it's working.


He suggested a floor of 10M. There is no teams spending less than that...


Counter offer: $20m hard cap, $10m floor, 1 DP slot that doesn't count towards the cap (possibly luxury tax if you use the DP slot). That returns the DP slot to its initial purpose, to have players in the league who otherwise wouldn't be and get butts in seats (though going forward, I could see it as a way of some teams *keeping* a player who otherwise would leave for Europe). EDIT: Real challenge, I guess, is how you'd count transfer fees with that, since there's all kinds of sins that can be hidden in there. OTOH, Young Money hints at the fact that the league doesn't really care about transfer fees, even if it's spending princely sums on young, unproven players.


Imagine a league with these salalry budgets but without the dumb roster rules.


We would have exactly 11 players and only be able to field 7 of them


The fact our wage bill is so low yet our placement in 2nd with a game ahead is actually quiet good. Just simply amazing actually; plus many of our players are young when you think about it. Only a handful are over 30+. Pato, Mauricio.. Urso.. Pedro.. but hes our GK, and for his age thats young. Two out of three DPs are also under 25 who’re doing very well. Looking at Chicago without Shaqiri would have a massive drop off too. They pay nearly 9m a year for him. Out of all the clubs who’re getting bang for their buck, I think its us, LAFC and a few others. Not saying, we’re amazing but overall spending to goals scored and wins.. kinda interesting.


I am shocked that Leo Chu makes more money than Frei or Nouhou. That's not right.


Not saying he should make that much but people will pay a lot for young age and potential in the world of soccer. Also domestic players definitely don’t get the paydays imports get.


On the other hand, Chu counts less against the salary cap ($200k) than either Frei ($500k) or Nouhou ($344k).


Chu was a U22 signing and Frei has never made more than the veteran maximum. Nouhou nearly doubled his salary from last year, which I believe was 190k


I don’t know about that. I am just going by what I see on the field and what each contributes to the team.


They're just giving you context since you don't know about that


Historically I've been impressed with what we the Sounders have been able to do mid-tier in spending. Looks like this year with Rusnak and merit increases we are towards the top (good to see) with 25% increase from last year which is massive. The Union and (gasp) Portland are my 2021/2022 appreciation clubs for doing well to maximize every dollar.


You guys have done a great job of infusing HGs and Draft signings which keeps some of that spend low.


True, in particular for getting the depth we have.


I hate tepper


Seeing LAFC so far below us reminds me how awful our FO is.


So when can SKC let go of pulido and give some of that 2 mil to players that deserve it, like hernendaz and duke


Do you think KC would be wise to not replace Pulido with another top tier striker? Pulido injury sucks but when I watched him I saw a VERY capable striker who was only getting better and better in this league... Seems SKC could use another player of that ilk (only healthy).


We have great mid field and top tier wingers. Id rather start vuj since he is good. I dont think we need a top tier striker


I think the book is still out on Vujnovic being ready to lead the line but maybe you will turn out to be right.


They can’t really reallocate the money like that - even if they buy Pulido out next year, they’d have $612,500 to spread between Hernandez and Duke, unless they also have allocation money to buy the hits down and/or make one or both of them a DP


Awesome chart! Any chance you can add minutes played per player? Don’t know about the rest of the teams, but Sounders have two near-starters making less than $80, and a player who won’t go names being paid $500k and occasionally is subbed on…


Kind of hilarious that we are in 8th now but with the addition of our new DP will immediately be in 1st over all. Especially considering our TAM space and the fact that 3 others are reportedly coming in around the same time. Should be an interesting fall release this year, might be one of the first times the top spending team has a noticeable gap between them and second place while also having a noticeable gap between that team and first place in league standings lol


It might be interesting to see the historical chart adjusted for inflation.


God Oravec was such a flunk. 315k to never see him play at all at the top level. So much for sexy szn


Yeah that’s been Tanner’s one major miss so far. Can’t hit ‘em all but the track record has been extremely impressive otherwise


More evidence that just simply setting the cap at 20-25 million but raising the floor to 15 would do absolute wonders for this league. Imagine how much better the bottom 5-10 teams would be if they added 5 players at a mil a year…


Super strange not seeing us at the bottom


Bjorn Johnsen being our second highest paid player at 1,2 millions although he had 2 goals last year and didn't play this year is a travesty.