While there are elements of the new MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement that may be seen as significant moves in favor of players, one in which most observers are surely to be disappointed is in the reported salary-cap figure.
Incremental increases to MLS salary cap over next 4 years, up to $4.2 million by 2019. Last year: $3.1m— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 5, 2015
Running the numbers a bit, it would appear as though MLS will increase the salary cap by about $217,000 each year for the life of the CBA. That's the equivalent of an annual bump of about 7 percent from the 2014 salary cap figure. The 2015 numbers should be about $3.3 million. By the end of the contract, MLS will have increased on-the-cap spending by about 35 percent. Put in terms of total dollars, MLS is set to increase on-the-cap spending by $22 million-$25.3 million a year depending on how many teams are in the league each year.
Modest as those numbers may be, how the league uses those numbers is key. Under the old agreement, only the 20 highest paid players on the roster counted against the salary cap. Assuming that remains true, the rise in minimum salary won't eat into total cap almost at all. Similarly, if the league implements some kind of new "super-max" Designated Player tier, that would also allow for increased spending without adversely affected the core of the roster.