UPDATED a few times: A number of players are out of the Re-Entry Draft pool. Some were taken in the first stage of the process, some were traded, and some negotiated new contracts. I have noted those changes below and will continue to update this post as more transactions are announced.
The Major League Soccer Re-Entry Draft is a two-stage process which is used to grant a form of free agency to players who have spent a qualifying amount of time in the league.
A player who is either out of contract or who has had an option year declined, and who has the qualifying time played (it varies by age) is eligible to be selected. If the player passes through both stages, he becomes available to any club within MLS on a first-come, first-served basis.
It is not pure free agency, but within the league's single-entity structure, it is a close approximation. And as with all roster rules in MLS, it is collectively bargained by the league and the players' union.
The key point in the process is that there is a lot more freedom to negotiate new deals with players selected in the second stage of the process than the first. For this reason, the first stage usually passes without much action, but the second stage can get quite busy.
You might remember that the Union landed Conor Casey this way. They selected him in the second stage of the 2012 Re-Entry Draft, and negotiated his salary down from $400,000 to $175,000.
This year's pool of eligible players has quite a bit of talent in it, as you'll see from the list below.
Which players would you like to see the Union pursue? I've added in the salary figures from this past season to give you some more context. And I've noted some players in italics who I think would help the Union.
Here are the players currently eligible for the second stage of the Re-Entry Draft:
D Ante Jazic ($132,187.50, out of contract)
D Steve Purdy ($80,004.00, option declined)
M Josue Soto ($35,125.00, option declined)
GK Steward Ceus ($70,333.33, option declined)
M Brian Mullan ($170,335.00, option declined)
D Jamie Smith ($46,500.00, option declined)
D Danny O'Rourke ($175,000.00, option declined)
M Konrad Warzycha ($46,500.00, option declined)
F Kenny Cooper ($342,500.00, option declined) 1
M David Ferreira ($730,000.00, option declined) 2
D Ugo Ihemelu ($200,000.00, option declined)
M Sinisa Ubiparipovic ($57,750.00, option declined)
1 - He might want a starting job, and he might not get it with Brian Carroll anchoring the midfield. But he's a workhorse and he's cheap, and he could play alongside Carroll in the bottom of a midfield triangle.
2 - It's a lot of money, but he's a left back who would bring veteran experience to a Union locker room that needs both of those things. Negotiate the number down in the second stage and he'd fit right in at PPL Park.
D David Horst ($70,000.00, option declined) 1 (traded to Houston Dynamo)
D Ryan Miller (option declined)
1 - Not at the top of my list, but he'd bring midfield depth - and he can really hammer a shot from long range. The Union could use a little of that kind of spice.
D Nana Attakora ($61,665.00, option declined)
M Mehdi Ballouchy ($152,006.00, out of contract) 1
M Dan Gargan ($88,000.00, option declined)
GK Evan Newton ($46,500.00, option declined)
1 - It's hard for me to believe that Ballouchy has played eight seasons in MLS already. It doesn't feel like it was so long ago that he was one of the league's top young playmakers. He's been played out of position by a lot of coaches in his MLS career, and he probably isn't starting-caliber anymore. But I can't help wondering if he might have a bit left in the tank.
F Justin Braun ($114,700.00, out of contract)
M Bobby Convey ($215,000.00, option declined) 1 (traded to the New York Red Bulls)