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Deeper Look at the Salary Data

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By now you have probably seen the list of salaries for every player in the league. In at least one case a player was discovered to have been signed through the release (this year a Dallas HomeGrown Player, two years ago Le Toux). But we can also start to discover some patterns in the data on a league wide basis, as well as how the Sounders manage their roster.

It shouldn't be a surprise, but the backline makes less money than the front, but another pattern is that a multiposition player tends to make less, and be younger. The Sounders only list two of these this year (Mike Fucito and Nathan Sturgis). This is likely due to the players still establishing a primary role. Very few multi-year players are listed as having two positions (yes, Sturgis again). No players this year are listed as Keeper-Anything (Campos once was) nor are there any Defender-Forward players.

Let's look at the League and the Sounders as to how they spread their money by position.

Position

League Avg

League Max

Sounders Avg

Sounders Max

Keeper

$92,721.78

$300,000

$171,250

$300,000

Defender

$95,209.96

$320,000

$85,095.33

$169,125.33

Def/Mid

$99,920.21

$300,500

$69,250

$69,250

Midfielder

$179,17.24

$6,500,000.04

$315,947.50

$1,314,000

Mid/Forward

$107,211.72

$300,000

$40,000

$40,000

Forward

$176,908.71

$2,127,777.78

$157,543.44

$480,000

TOTAL

$138,169.47

$6,500,000.0

$156,119.87

$1,314,000

The Sounders spend more on Keepers, but that's all because of Keller, and the fact that the Seattle side is only carrying two keepers, which is still unusual in this league. In every other position that the league classifies, except for Midfielder, the Sounders spend less money than the rest of the league, on average. This includes at the Forward, even with the Blaise Nkufo signing the Sounders don't spend the money that MLS teams average on their preferred goalscorers.

On a non-positional averages here's how the Sounders spread their payroll.

Total $4,052,523.96 $4,215,236.46
Avg $150,093.48 $156,119.87
Max $1,300,000.00 $1,314,000.00
Min $40,000.00 $40,000.00

That looks like unless there is a ton of allocation dollars hidden in there they don't have room to add another player without losing a significant salary.

Here's the same data for the League

Total $50,133,001.37 $56,096,803.56
Avg $123,480.30 $138,169.47
Max $5,500,000.08 $6,500,000.04
Min $35,700.00 $40,000.00

In fact the league on average is tapped out, so if the Summer window will result in a plethora of signings it will also result in a plethora of cuts. Or, perhaps we'll see an announcement on that Reserve League.

Here's the entire Sounders roster with a few notable players bolded

Alonso Osvaldo M $67,925.00 $68,737.50

Boss

Terry GK $40,000.00 $42,500.00
Estrada David F $40,000.00 $40,000.00
Evans Brad F $110,000.00 $123,750.00
Fucito Michael MF $40,000.00 $40,000.00
Gonzalez Leonardo D $72,000.00 $72,000.00
Graham Taylor D $57,750.00 $57,750.00
Hurtado  John Kennedy D $120,000.00 $121,000.00
Ianni Patrick D $75,600.00 $75,600.00
Jaqua Nate F $220,000.00 $238,125.00
Keller Kasey GK $300,000.00 $300,000.00
Levesque Roger F $42,008.00 $42,008.00
Ljungberg Fredrik M $1,300,000.00 $1,314,000.00
Marshall Tyrone D $165,375.00 $169,125.00
Montano Miguel F $40,008.00 $40,008.00
Montero Fredy F $180,000.00 $180,000.00
Nkufo Blaise F $480,000.00 $480,000.00
Noonan Pat F $96,000.00 $96,000.00
Nyassi Sanna M $40,000.00 $40,000.00
Parke Jeff D $99,999.96 $99,999.96
Riley James D $72,450.00 $76,075.00
Scott Zach D $42,008.00 $42,008.00
Seamon Michael M $40,000.00 $40,000.00
Sturgis Nathan DM $65,000.00 $69,250.00
Vagenas Peter M $117,000.00 $117,000.00
Wahl Tyson D $49,400.00 $52,300.00
Zakuani Steve F $80,000.00 $178,000.00

Hurtado earned a significant raise over last year, while Sturgis and Peter Vagenas both had some cuts. Pat Noonan and Jeff Parke both came in at just under 100k despite only being rotational players on signing. It is notable that Centerbacks 1,2,3,4 all make more than the two primary wingbacks, which may indicate that the team puts more value in the defensive spine than on the rear wings.

Blaise Nkufo will be getting a significant amount of allocation, or he'll be a DP. Either way, he's going to be costly, and he'll put the Sounders with a fairly top heavy team concerning salaries.

Some have called out Nate Jaqua as being overpriced, but if you look at his production last year you would take it over probably half the players that made more than he did last season. That doesn't mean that he was a great buy, but considering he is also much more productive than the players making 66% of his salary the idea that his salary is the problem just needs to disappear.

Overall the Sounders salary distribution is much more pleasing this year. Generally it rewards the players that played well last year, including significant raises for several key guys.

Thanks to Carlos for the backend work on this.

What are your thoughts on this year's salary release? Surprised at the lack of cap room?