When Alejandro Bedoya signed a contract extension through 2022 last week, the Union’s announcement didn’t say anything about their captain’s designated-player status.
That’s because he isn’t one anymore.
Union technical director Chris Albright said Monday that while Bedoya’s new deal will still pay him a sum near the $1.2 million he earned last year, the team is knocking his cap hit down with targeted allocation money so that the sum lands below this year’s DP threshold of $612,500.
Major League Soccer’s new CBA allows a team to buy up to $2.8 million of targeted allocation money this season, and to pay a player’s cap hit down with up to $1 million from the account. That’s what the Union are doing here.
As such, Jamiro Monteiro is now the Union’s only designated player.
There are a few incentives to do this, most of which are way in the weeds of MLS’s salary rule book. The best-known one to fans is that while teams can have three DPs, a team that wants its third to be older than 24 has to pay the league $150,000 for the slot.
Albright is a veteran of navigating the aforementioned weeds. He said the move “was the most effective use of our resources as a club.” (He’s also a veteran of navigating the aforementioned criticism, having worked in the Union’s front office for six years.)
The rule book also says: “If Targeted Allocation Money is used to free up a Designated Player slot, the club must simultaneously sign a new Designated Player at an investment equal to, or greater than, the player he is replacing.”
It turns out the word “simultaneously” only applies in a literal sense after the start-of-season roster compliance deadline has passed. This year, that happened last Friday at 5 p.m. If a team frees up a DP slot, it need only have its new DP signed by the deadline.
Because the Union did all of their deals before the deadline, Monteiro counted as that new DP and the team was in compliance.
Those details were confirmed by both Albright and MLS headquarters.
Right now, it doesn’t look as if the Union are going to sign a second DP, never mind a third. (And they are aware that teams that balk at the $150,000 fee get branded as cheap.)
Nobody wants to reveal their cards, of course. So we’ll have to wait and see what comes next.