With the rumored departure of Freddie and the recent move of Wilman to Puebla, many of you are trying to come up with who is going to start for the Fire next year. Instead of trying to convince yourself that Corben Bone and Victor Pineda are ready to contribute next season you should be fantasizing about what the Fire can do with the glorious amount of cap space they have.
Since MLS guards the actual cap numbers for players so well that even Wiki Leaks can't get their hands on it, everything below is an estimate based off of last seasons contract figures released by the players union. Couple of caveats regarding the below estimates. I did not include Freddie Ljungberg I'm assuming he is gone from the news that broke earlier this week. Ristic's salary is a complete guess. Marco Pappa is probably getting a significant raise in the second year of his new deal. I feel pretty confident everyone else is at least in the same salary area as they were last season. The estimates in the chart after the break also do not include allocation money.
|Kwame Watson Siriboe||D||42000|
Pineda doesn't count against the cap because he is a home grown signing. Bone and Johnson don't count due to their Generation Adidas status.
With the Salary Cap rising to $2.675 Million for the 2011 season that currently puts the Fire $1.44 Million under the cap. If the rumors about Nery Castillo moving back to Greece prove to be true that would push it up to $1.77 Million. That is a whole lot of money to completely reshape your team.
Another important facet to keep in mind: international roster spots. With the recent departures of Kroll, John, and Conde to go along with the apparent departure of Ljungberg the Fire have at the minimum 4 available international roster slots. With the expansion of Senior roster spots to 24 the international roster spots are now even more valuable. Witness the most recent expansion draft as evidence of this. International spots were more valuable than actual players.
The Fire have an incredible amount of flexibility heading into this off season. They have the money, open international roster spots, a free designated player slot, and several domestic senior roster spots with which to reshape the squad. I fully expect the team to target a few players in next week's first ever Re-Entry Draft and to potentially be very active in acquiring talent.
Quick note regarding the international roster spots. The Fire may have more than the normal 8 spots. These spots are able to be traded. The old MLS website used to list players as senior international or senior domestic. The new one doesn't appear to do so. When I find a solid list of this information I will update this article.
I'll be back later this week with Re-Entry draft talk.
Roster Spot Breakdown: