Any hope of Brad Smith returning to Seattle before the 2020 season kicks off was effectively extinguished on Thursday when Bournemouth announced they have sent the left back on loan to Championship side Cardiff City. The loan will go through the end of the season, at which point Smith would be out of contract — assuming he doesn’t sign an extension before then.
That leaves open the possibility that Smith could return to the Sounders this summer. One complicating factor will be his salary. Smith’s current contract pays him more than $1 million a year and even with the Sounders only being responsible for half of that during his year-and-a-half loan, Targeted Allocation Money was still required to buy him down.
The Sounders’ interest in bringing Smith back — especially at such a high number — may depend on how well they are able to fill his shoes with Nouhou or Joevin Jones. Nouhou has proven himself a very capable defender, but hasn’t always displayed the quality going forward that Brian Schmetzer’s system requires. Jone put up one of the best offensive seasons ever for a MLS left back in 2017, but has been used mostly as a midfielder since returning to the Sounders last May.