Marry/Boff/Kill: Sean Johnson

Sean Johnson will likely go to Europe at some point, but how soon? - Bob Levey

Fire front office have decisions to make vis-a-vis the Milkman - but the main question is, what does Johnson want?

"Marry/F**k/Kill" is a game of the Internet age, and the rules are simple: name a group of three people ("Iron Man and Thor and Captain America," "Blanche, Rose or Dorothy"), and ask the crowd to choose one fate for each of them - one to partner with for good, one explored for a connection but not kept, and one cast off into the outer darkness. Fans of 30 Rock will recognize this game in its safe-for-primetime version, Marry/Boff/Kill, which name we're borrowing because we do not want SB Nation getting angry emails.

Here at Hot Time, we're going to use the game to talk about players - specifically Chicago Fire players, naturally. We're going to use it as a way to talk about the roster. It works like this: ‘Marry' indicates a willingness to keep the player regardless of cap issues or any other considerations; ‘Boff' (i.e., ‘F**k) means that we're, uhh, f**king the player over, asking for modifications to their contract or running them through the Re-Entry Draft process - we're interested but not on these terms; and ‘Kill' means terminating the player's contact with CF97.

We're going to present some kind of argument for each outcome, and let the community have their say. I mean, why not? We already have an entire week of marrying, boffing and killing under our proverbial belts, and if you missed any of it, it can all be found under our Marry/Boff/Kill Story Stream, while we examine last week's results in M/B/K: Week 1 Wrap-up.

Sean Johnson, #25, 24 years old

2013: 28 starts, 1.39 GAA, 6 shutouts

Career: 100 starts, 1.31 GAA, 21 shutouts

$120,000 base salary, $153,000 guaranteed

This could be a very big year for the Milkman, and his personal narrative will be all tangled up with the Fire's. The club holds one final option year on Johnson's contract, and Johnson has made no secret of his desire to test himself in Europe. The question is, should it be now, or later? We're going to alter the rules of Marry/Boff/Kill a bit for Sean, as is explained below.

The case for ‘Marry'

SeanJohn has grown steadily from his surprising rookie form, and now, entering his fifth season promises to make the next step to leadership. MLS revealed the presence of something called ‘retention funds' last year - use some of that funny money to lock up Johnson for, say, three more years, allowing him to pursue his goals in Europe once a serious offer arrives. Stability is valuable, especially in defense.

The case for ‘Boff'

The Fire could also just let it ride, exercising their option, grooming Paolo for another season while keeping the overall cap hit low for 2014. Sean would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with any club in the world starting July 1, and any transfer fee would be more of a small rental fee. This might make sense if the club thinks Johnson will make the World Cup squad - if you're losing him for two months in June, why not just peel off the band-aid and make the change then?

The case for ‘Kill'

In Sean's case, we're calling it ‘killing' him by cashing in on him now, in the January window. This is a pure Moneyball move; we've got a fairly comprehensively groomed replacement in Paolo Tornaghi, and backup keepers fall from the sky in the USA, so it doesn't make sense to throw money at the Milkman. Take the million bucks, transfer him to England, the Netherlands or Germany, and invest that money in a USL-PRO team.

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