Sounders' roster, salary-cap situation comes into soft focus

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Sounders may be a bit tighter to the salary cap than we had presumed.

With the dust settling after another wild week of Seattle Sounders transactions, it seemed like a good time to play a bit of an educated guessing game as far as the roster and salary-cap situation goes. From the best information we have available, the Sounders appear to have 28 players on their roster. That's a pretty solid number and all but one or two of those players are expected to have a very good chance of being on the team when the season opens on March 8 against Sporting Kanas City.

What is less clear is just how much salary-cap space the Sounders have. We know the salary-cap will be $3.1 million. But we don't know exactly how much anyone is going to be making or exactly how much allocation money the Sounders have. What I've done, then, is make some educated guesses in both areas.

I'm guessing that the maximum salary-cap hit for a Designated Player will be about $375,000. So I counted each of the Sounders' three DPs as that amount. That's simple enough. But after that, it gets very messy.

Effectively, I'm flying only slightly better than blind when it comes to a lot of these numbers. So I might be overestimating or underestimating by a significant margin. That said, there's a lot of you asking for this information so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Some notes before I get to the actual numbers (which will of course give the impression that this is far more official than it really is).

  • I assumed that new acquisitions Chad Marshall, Kenny Cooper, Tristan Bowen and Chad Barrett all accepted relatively small pay cuts. For all I know they are getting raises, but in each case this seemed like a reasonable assumption.
  • For now, I have Shalrie Joseph on the roster and for a salary that is a little more than half of what he made last year. That's a major area the Sounders could choose to create space if they bought him out before the start of the season.
  • I gave Brad Evans a raise to $275,000, which is about $90,000 more than he made a year ago. I also gave Lamar Neagle a more modest raise of about $25,000. Everyone else received raises of 10 percent, which is the middle of what most contract guarantee.
  • Assuming the Sounders will sign at least one more relatively highly paid player, I only counted 19 players toward the salary cap.
  • Given what we've heard about the three trades involving allocation money, I've ball-parked my estimate at $650,000 of allocation money. I'm fairly certain they received the full $650,000 in allocation in the Eddie Johnson deal but I suspect that the money they received in the Adam Moffat trade and the money they sent out in the Chad Marshall trade effectively canceled each other out. There's definitely a chance that there was money left over from last year or that they have more allocation than I projected, but, like I said, I wanted to be conservative.
  • Without using any allocation, the Sounders are actually quite a bit over the salary cap, about $550,000 over by my estimate. If my estimates on available allocation are particularly high, they could be much tighter than I'm projecting.
  • Once that was all added up, I came up with about $98,000 of available salary cap space. Honestly, it's not as much as I thought it would be. But it does suggest the Sounders have the ability to sign at least one more midlevel type of player and could potentially sign two players averaging about $250,000 in cap hit depending on what happens with Joseph. It does seem to suggest that signing someone like Steffen Hagen, who would come with a transfer fee, might be more difficult than previously assumed.
Last name First name Position 2013 total compensation Estimated cap hit
Alonso Osvaldo M $210000 $375000
Martins Obafemi F $1725000 $375000
Dempsey Clint F $5,038,566.50 $375000
Marshall Chad D $361250 $350000
Cooper Kenny F $342500 $300000
Joseph Shalrie M $599333 $400000
Evans Brad F $181046 $275000
Frei Stefan GK $200000 $200000
Anibaba Jalil D $131245 $144369.5
Gonzalez Leonardo D $135000 $148500
Traore Djimi D $120000 $132000
Bowen Tristan F $156364 $125000
Barrett Chad F $110709 $100000
Neagle Lamar M $48400 $75000
Hahnemann Marcus GK $60000 $66000
Scott Zach D $50000 $55000
Caskey Alex M $46500 $51150
Estrada David F $48400 $53240
Ford Josh GK $46500 $51150
Rose Andy M $46500
Remick Dylan D $35125
Bates Will F $35125
Yedlin DeAndre D $53500
Zavaleta Eriq F $95600
Kovar Aaron M
Lowe Damion D
Ockford Jimmy D
Okoli Sean F
Salary Cap figure $3,651,409.5
Salary cap $3,100,000
Cap room w/o allocation -$551,409.5
Estimated allocation $650,000
Cap room using allocation $98,590.5

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