There haven’t been too many changes since the previous set of figures was published in June, but some of the changes that did occur are significant.
RJ Allen, signed in early July to be a backup right back, is earning a little more than $70,000 from the Union. It’s a nearly $20,000 pay cut from his last MLS gig, with Orlando City in 2018, but he was a free agent when he came here.
Joe Bendik brought his $144,000 salary with him when he was acquired from Columbus in a trade in mid-July.
Jamiro Monteiro got a $102,000 raise this summer after his four-month loan from French club Metz was extended through the rest of the season.
Andrew Wooten, the Union’s marquee summer signing, is earning a base salary of $510,000.00 and guaranteed compensation of $595,833.33. As was announced at the time of his arrival, Wooten’s cap hit is being paid down with Targeted Allocation Money.
The most intriguing news item might belong to academy-bred forward Jack De Vries. The 17-year-old Dutch-American dual citizen signed a pre-contract in August to move up to MLS next year, but for accounting purposes, he’s already on the Union’s books.
His numbers are unusually high considering he has not played a minute at the senior level yet: $90,000.00 in base salary and $120,556.25 in guaranteed compensation. But there’s an accounting trick involved: All of the MLSPA’s figures are annualized. The listed pay of a player on a short-term deal is not what he actually takes home. The MLSPA said De Vries is earning $7,500 per month for his pre-contract period.
Philadelphia Union payroll
DP: Designated Player. A list of all DPs leaguewide is available here.
TAM: Salary-cap hit paid down with Targeted Allocation Money. The league’s public list of all players receiving TAM is out of date, but if you’d like to know the history, it’s here.
HGP: Homegrown Players. A list of all homegrown players leaguewide is available here.
The Union have 29 players on their roster. They can have up to 30, plus one under contract who is loaned for the year to their USL affiliate, Bethlehem Steel.
Team payroll comparison
As always, this section comes with disclaimers.
The payroll table has long been an imperfect tool, and it gets less perfect each year. Some teams’ payrolls include players on loan to other clubs, and some do not. The players’ association has gotten better about keeping track of this, but some players slip through the cracks.
More importantly, payrolls do not include spending on transfer fees. A team that isn’t at the top of the payroll ranking might have paid a big transfer fee for a star player. There were 12 purchases reportedly worth more than $1 million each leaguewide last offseason.
Some notes on big movers:
— Toronto FC made three expensive signings this summer: wingers Erickson Gallardo ($306,916.60) and Nicolas Benezet ($600,000), and defender Omar Gonzalez ($1,193,935.50).
— New England’s jump comes from signing Gustavou Bou ($2,100,000) as a Designated Player in July.
— San Jose’s arrivals were winger Carlos Fierro ($718,800) and forward Andrés Ríos ($729,250).
— Minnesota added defender Wilfried Moimbe ($274,275) and midfielders Thomás Chacón ($336,999.96) and Robin Lod ($952,496).
— Orlando brought in midfielder Mauricio Pereyra ($1,078,000) as a DP.
— The Los Angeles Galaxy brought in a new star, Cristian Pavón ($1,200,000). He isn’t a DP because his cap hit is being bought down with a huge sum of TAM.
— Houston’s summer shopping included trading for Christian Ramirez ($666,250).
— Seattle is paying new midfielder Emanuel Cecchini $789,000.
— Montreal brought in five players this summer and released five others. The biggest addition was former Barcelona star Bojan Krkic ($1,532,448.56).
— Portland’s rise is a surprise, because the Timbers didn’t sign any new players this summer. They did, however, sign DP midfielder Sebastián Blanco to a new contract. It wasn’t formally announced, but multiple sources confirmed the news to The Inquirer. Blanco isn’t actually earning his new listed salary — $2,853,341.33, up from $1,375,008 — because the new number is annualized from his new monthly pay. His actual salary is somewhere between the new and old figures. But he did get a raise, and there will be an official announcement at some point.
— Colorado headlines the list of teams whose payrolls decreased. Its highest-profile player to exit was Nana Adjei-Boateng ($391,250).
— How did LAFC shrink its payroll in a summer when it gave Brian Rodriguez a seven-figure contract ($1,039,800.08)? By shipping out Andre Horta ($1,277,500), Christian Ramirez and two other players.
— FC Cincinnati’s big decline is because of the early end of American winger Kenny Saief’s loan from Belgian club Anderlecht.
The number of millionaires in the league is up to 56, an increase of four from this year’s first set of salary data. When the MLSPA started publishing salary figures in 2007, there were just four millionaires in all of MLS.
The players’ association’s books include two millionaires currently not in the league: Shkëlzen Gashi (formerly of Colorado) and Yura Movsisyan (formerly of Real Salt Lake). They don’t count toward the 56, but are included on the list below so you can know what they’re supposed to be making.
There are 714 players on the books, up from 690 at the end of last year. It’s the first time there are more than 700 players in the league. The number will grow again next year when expansion teams Nashville SC and Inter Miami kick off.
The total amount of spending on salaries leaguewide is $294,165,170.64. That sets a record for the 14th straight release of salary data, a streak that dates to 2013. The last time spending leaguewide decreased was the offseason between the 2012 and 2013 campaigns.
(Salary figures have been published twice each year since 2014. There were three sets in 2012 and 2013, and one per year from 2007-11.)
The mean (average) salary is $411,996.04, down a little bit from the record of $416,425.76 set in the first half of this season. The median (middle) salary is $179,498, a record. The mode (most common) and lowest salary figures remain unchanged; both were already records.
Thirty-three players earn the minimum salary, up from 29 in the first half of the season. The only Union player among them is forward Michee Ngalina, who was promoted from Bethlehem Steel in May. Los Angeles FC has four players in the group, most of any club. Four teams have none: Colorado, Dallas, San Jose and Seattle.
In most years, the group of unsigned or pool players represents the league’s fringe. This season has been different.
Of the eight club-less players on the association’s books, five were waived, bought out or had contract options declined before the season started. One of the other three retired; another was waived just after the season started. The last is Charlie Lyon, the league’s pool goalkeeper. He spent a few weeks in Philadelphia in May as an emergency loanee.
Inter Miami and Nashvile SC each have two players on their books as they build toward their debuts.
Miami’s players are forward Julián Carranza ($70,250.04 / $70,250.04) and midfielder Matías Pellegrini ($75,000 / $170,833.33). Pellegrini is a Young Designated Player thanks to a reported transfer fee of $10 million.
Here are the latest versions of the charts used to show key MLS salary metrics and changes over time.