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Clint Dempsey will be back with Sounders in 2018, ESPN reports

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Dempsey will count as a Designated Player for the 2018 season.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

UPDATE: A later version of the original ESPN report said Dempsey’s contract will pay him between $1.5-$2 million a year.

Clint Dempsey will be back with the Seattle Sounders as a Designated Player in 2018, ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle is reporting. Citing “multiple sources”, the report says that Dempsey and the Sounders had agreed to a one-year deal. This follows reports from as far back as a couple weeks ago that suggested something like this was in the works.

Considering the Sounders already had an option year on Dempsey’s contract, this would seem to be a new deal for less than whatever he was due to be paid. Dempsey was paid $3.9 million in guaranteed compensation in 2017, according to MLS Players Union documents.

After missing about a third of last season — as well as the entirety of the playoffs — with heart issues, Dempsey returned this year to register 12 goals and five assists. He added two more goals in his only playoff appearance, giving him a team-record five in his Sounders career.

Although Dempsey will still count as one of the team’s three DPs in 2018, this likely gives the Sounders a bit more room in their budget to use on other parts of the team. One possible plan for the money could be to help pay for new TAM players. A report earlier this week suggested that MLS was considering the possibility of allowing teams to spend up to $2 million of their own money on TAM players, while also increasing the threshold for those players to $1.5 million. Even without that new discretionary spending, the Sounders could also use any savings in this deal to help pay for a new DP if they choose to buy down Osvaldo Alonso’s contract.