UPDATE 7/22: The move not only opens up an international slot and senior roster space. It also adds to their cap space and available Targeted Allocation Money due to the contract being mutually terminated.
Statement from club about Magnus Wolff Eikrem’s contract. I’d estimate this is an extra $70k of cap space and $180k of TAM. pic.twitter.com/zdu6UklPIS— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) July 22, 2018
Sounders have 1 senior roster slot, 1 reserve roster slot, an international spot and enough cap space and various Allocation Monies in order to add a TAM player.
UPDATE: The Sounders made the official on Friday.
It appears as though Magnus Wolff Eikrem has played his final match for the Seattle Sounders. The Norwegian midfielder is expected to be waived by the Sounders on Friday, Sounder at Heart has learned. Although the exact details of the move were not yet known, it is believed that Wolff’s contract was guaranteed and therefore would continue to count against the salary cap. By waiving Wolff, the Sounders at least open an international roster spot, clearing the way to add another foreign player using Targeted Allocation Money.
When he was signed at the start of the season, the expectation was that Wolff would give the Sounders an additional offensive weapon. In fact, he was the only significant offensive addition between the MLS Cup final and last week when Raúl Ruidíaz was signed.
After an impressive debut in which he scored against Santa Tecla and then a strong performance in the season-opener against LAFC, Wolff struggled to find his rhythm. He was ineffective in the Chivas road match and was pulled at halftime of the 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact. Wolff didn’t get another start until the Toronto FC match nearly six weeks later.
Wolff looked good in that game, even picking up an assist on an impressive play that resulted in Will Bruin’s game-winner. But he struggled to have much impact in two subsequent starts — as the Sounders collectively looked punchless — and then didn’t start in any of the next six games despite scoring a game-winner against D.C. United in one of those appearances and generally showing a level of creativity few others on the team possess.
After starting against the New England Revolution, head coach Brian Schmetzer seemed to allude to some issues.
“You could tell he didn’t have quite a sense and feel for all the guys he was playing with,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said about Wolff after the game. “There were a couple of missed passes, but overall good. Again, he is committed to the group and that’s what we’re asking of him.”
In the Sounders’ next game, Wolff was left off the gameday roster against Atlanta United.
At the very least, that was a sign they didn’t see Wolff as an integral part of the team moving forward. Waiving him now suggests they believe they are at least close to using the international roster spot Wolff occupied. Beyond that, though, the benefits are likely small or neutral.
At this point in the season, most contracts are guaranteed and teams are no longer allowed to use their annual buyouts. That likely means Wolff’s salary will continue to count against the cap and might even require the Sounders to continue using TAM to keep that cap hit as low as possible. TAM is used, essentially, on a cash basis and in a best-case scenario the Sounders would likely save less than $200,000. That’s probably not enough to bring in a second new TAM player, but might help pay a small transfer or loan fee.