As the Seattle Sounders retool for a run at multiple Cups in 2012 they declined options on Forwards Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan, as well as Centerback Taylor Graham. They also declined the option on the retiring Terry Boss. Each player is between 30 and 31 years old and occupied senior roster slots. The total salary budget space opened up is just under $300,000 dollars which should help the team further supplement the backline in that rebuilding project. All four will be available in the Re-Entry Draft. Up until December 2nd they can renegotiate with the Sounders, but if no deal is reached can be picked up by another MLS team at their option price for 2012 in Phase One on December 5th. Phase Two (12 Dec.) of the Re-Entry Draft allows an acquiring team to sign the player at any negotiated price. After Phase Two they would be free agents.
Nate Jaqua is the most significant loss. In 2009 he was a key to a decent offense with 9 goals and 7 assists. After an injury plagued 2010 his production over the past two years fell off to just 8 goals and 12 assists in all competitions , though he did win the 2010 Player of the US Open Cup. At 30 years old he likely is a role player who could succeed in some late game situations thereby being a Phase Two pick if at all.
Noonan is also in his decline phase. Similar to Jaqua, his career is long enough to be on the top MLS goal scoring list, but in Seattle was used more as a possession forward also spending time in the midfield. The 31 year old is at a low number and a team that wants a veteran presence to control the pace of the game may think that the now healthy Pat Noonan can help them.
Taylor Graham has a long history with the Seattle Sounders organization playing three seasons in both the USL and MLS version of the team. While never a featured player he also gathered seven years of MLS service. He also has 3 CAPS for Puerto Rico. Graham's playing time declined over the past two seasons with only 90 competitive minutes in 2011. At 31 his next steps are hard to guess. Losing him leaves Seattle with only two remaining USL players on the team.
In light of these moves the team continues to shed some salary and some age. The late season addition of Sammy Ochoa and likely return of O'Brian White should give Seattle four options at forward who are all essentially the same age (Mike Fucito, Ochoa & White are 25; Fredy Montero is 24). The 1900 minutes opened up will be hotly contested in 2012.
Seattle currently has six open senior roster spots.