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Sounders 2017 salaries: Clint Dempsey takes 20 percent cut

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Team is spending less overall, but everyone else they brought back got a raise.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Houston Dynamo Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

There weren’t a ton of big surprises when the MLS Players Union did their first salary dump of 2017, but there were some notable changes to what various Seattle Sounders are scheduled to make this year. (Note: As usual, we should note that these numbers are not ironclad and likely less than 100 percent accurate. They don’t include all bonuses and other non-salary compensation, for instance. It is, however, the best information we have available.)

The most significant change was Clint Dempsey taking a 20 percent pay cut in terms of total compensation. While some of that is likely due to the front-loaded nature of his original MLS contract — MLSPU documents showed him making about $5 million in 2013 and nearly $6.7 million in 2014 — it’s notable that there was no change in Dempsey’s total compensation from 2015 to 2016.

Dempsey’s $713,000 paycut accounts for almost exactly one third of the Sounders’ overall payroll decline (which is down to about $10.3 million from last year’s $12.4 million compensation bill). Although Dempsey was the only player to take a paycut, the Sounders discarded several high salaries (Nelson Valdez, Andreas Ivanschitz, Erik Friberg and Tyrone Mears collectively made nearly $2.2 million).

Once among the top spenders, the Sounders’ payroll is the seventh highest in MLS, less than half of what Toronto FC is spending ($22.5M) and just a shade behind the Portland Timbers ($10.8M). Although, it should be noted that none of these figures include transfer frees, among other expenditures.

That said, everyone else the Sounders brought back from their MLS Cup-winning campaign received a raise. The biggest bump in total dollars was given to Osvaldo Alonso, who is up to $1.1M in guaranteed compensation, far more commensurate with his status as arguably the Sounders’ most important player and now among the Top 25 paid players in the league. Stefan Frei, Jordan Morris and Joevin Jones all received increases of about 20 percent, while Cristian Roldan is up about 15 percent.

Despite the raise, Jones continues to be an amazing bargain at less than $100,000 per year. Nicolas Lodeiro also has to be considered a relative bargain as the league’s 18th highest paid player (one spot behind Fredy Montero).

The big takeaway from all of this seems to be that the Sounders are well positioned to add some salary either in the final days of this transfer window (it closes on May 8) or the during summer one (it opens on July 10).

Sounders salaries compared (2017 vs. 2016)

Last Name, first name Position 2017 guaranteed comp 2016 guarantted comp change
Last Name, first name Position 2017 guaranteed comp 2016 guarantted comp change
Full team $10,306,150.48 $12,445,315.02 -20.76%
Dempsey, Clint F $3,892,933.50 $4,605,941.50 -18.32%
Fernandez, Alvaro M $294,000.00 $294,000.00 0.00%
Lodeiro, Nicolas M $1,743,428.57 $1,743,428.52 0.00%
Torres, Roman D $508,812.50 $491,812.50 3.34%
Mansaray, Victor F $69,125.00 $66,000.00 4.52%
Bruin, Will* F $326,666.67 $311,666.67 4.59%
Kovar, Aaron M $66,350.00 $63,200.00 4.75%
Miller, Tyler GK $65,633.40 $62,508.00 4.76%
Meredith, Bryan* GK $66,150.00 $63,000.00 4.76%
Fisher, Oniel M-D $65,625.00 $62,500.00 4.76%
Alfaro, Tony D $54,075.00 $51,500.00 4.76%
Marshall, Chad D $366,250.00 $341,250.00 6.83%
Evans, Brad D-M $338,501.25 $315,166.25 6.89%
Shipp, Harrison* M $144,999.96 $129,500.00 10.69%
Roldan, Cristian M $137,000.00 $117,000.00 14.60%
Alonso, Osvaldo M $1,141,667.00 $941,667.00 17.52%
Frei, Stefan GK $256,250.00 $206,250.00 19.51%
Morris, Jordan F $237,500.00 $190,500.00 19.79%
Jones, Joevin D $96,166.67 $76,166.67 20.80%
Tolo, Nohou D $52,999.92 n/a n/a
Svensson, Gustav M $170,000.04 n/a n/a
Mathers, Zach M $53,004.00 n/a n/a
Delem, Jordy M $53,004.00 n/a n/a
Adekoya, Seyi F $53,004.00 n/a n/a
Wingo, Henry D-M $53,004.00 n/a na/
* - signifies 2016 salary was not with Sounders
MLS Players Union