A closer look at the 2012 Real Salt Lake roster Part 3 - The impact of the rules

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Over the last couple weeks I have taken a look at the 2012 Real Salt Lake roster by position (Part 1 and Part 2), today I am going to look at the rules and how they impact the choices RSL has and will continue to make, You can take a look at the full list of roster rules and regulations on the MLS website or just enjoy my summary and opinions below (I know that is a dangerous thing).

So MLS has made some adjustments to the roster rules for 2012, as they do most years, perhaps the biggest change is the increase in the Salary Cap (the amount each team is allowed to spend on their 20 man Salary Budget Players). That amount this year is $2,810,000, teams may elect to only have 18 players on their Salary Budget Players list, but anything less than 18 and the team gets charged for empty spots.

Beyond those twenty slots are 10 additional "Off-Budget Players" slots, which include any Generation Adidas players, any Home Grown Players, the rules about how much these players must make are fairly detailed:

  • Players occupying roster spots 1-24 will earn at least $44,000 in 2012.
  • Players occupying roster spots 25-30 will earn at least $33,750 in 2012.
  • Any player making $33,750 must be under the age 25 (does not turn 25 or older in 2012).
  • Clubs may elect to leave up to two of these roster spots (25-30) vacant and use $35,000 for each empty spot as allocation money.
  • Clubs may sign up to two Homegrown Players contracts above the minimum salary and similar to Generation adidas player contract amounts.
more about the rules and how they impact the 2012 RSL roster after the jump:

Now there were other changes to the roster rules for 2012, most of the changes impact Designated Players and include the new structure for younger players counting less against the salary cap:

  • A Designated Player over the age of 23 counts as $350,000 against the club's salary budget, unless the player joins his club in the middle of the season, in which case his budget charge will be $175,000.
  • A Designated Player 20 years old or younger** (referred to as Young Designated Players or Young DPs) to counts as $150,000 against the club's salary budget
  • A Designated Player 21-23 years old** counts as $200,000 against the club's salary budget.
  • The budget charge for the midseason signing of a Young DP is $150,000 and this amount cannot be lowered with allocation funds.
  • Clubs will not have to buy the third DP roster slot to accommodate a Young Designated Player whereas clubs are normally required to buy that slot for a one-time fee of $250,000.
  • Clubs are responsible for all amounts above the budget charge for all Designated Players.
The only other rule that has a huge impact on RSL, is the 152 international slots that are divided among the teams, which includes the two youth international slots that RSL traded away that were converted into the system used now which is just international slots. It hasn't really been an issue for RSL in the past but this year as they try to restock from losing 9 players in the off season, it is clear that their hands have been tied a bit by the fact that they only have 6 international slots to use.

So what does all this mean for RSL? Well let's take what we know, with 9 players leaving the team RSL ended the season with 13 players under contract (as best I can tell, Cody Arnoux, Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers,
Luis Gil, Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Jamison Olave, Kyle Reynish, Nick Rimando, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler and Chris Wingert) Now we know that Luis Gil doesn't count towards the cap hit but just those 13 players count for $2,149,725.50 in cap charges (before their 5-15% raises- which if I use an average of 10% gives us a total of $2,364,698.00 in 2012 cap hit).

Then we can add in signing of Paulo Jr, who I can ensure you is making more than the $42,000 he made in 2011, a new deal for Ned Grabavoy who made $118,125.00 in 2011 and probably got a fair 20% raise. One can imagine that the new deal for Fabian Espindola has him getting a nice raise from the $75,000 he made in 2011 as well, so I am going to round all of that into say $275,000 which when added to the current RSL players under contract and you now have 16 players under contract for a total cap hit of $2,639,698 and you can see that there is very little room left.

Now RSL dodged a potential huge bullet in the draft when they got Enzo Martinez who is signed to a Generation Adidas contract, and like Luis Gil doesn't count against the RSL cap, so now you have 18 players under contract and your cap hit is the same. We can add in our 2 Home Grown Players, Nico Muniz and Lalo Fernandez, which brings our total up to 20 players and a cap hit of $2,639,698 of the potential $2,810,000 they are allowed.

Now this is making some assumptions that I simply don't know at this point, 1st is that the 16 players under contracts that I count against the cap are all in fact in those 20 potential salary counting spots. In fact I know that Chris Schuler was part of the Off Budget list in 2011, but I doubt he will be in 2012. So then we have to add in our other off season signing of Yordany Alvarez, who I am going to guess will be making about 75K a year and will count against our salary cap. That puts us at $2,714,698, and 21 players in, now I feel confident that both Sebastian Velasquez and Jonny Steele will be signed close to the league minimum and I imagine both will be place on the 10 man list that doesn't count against the salary cap.

So that leaves us now with 24 players on the roster and the best I can tell we have 17 players that would count against the cap, meaning we can expect at least one more to be signed as the team is charged if they have under 18 on that list and 7 on the off budget list. I fully expected RSL to head into the 2012 season with a 26 man roster and it looks more and more likely that my estimates were right. Tomorrow I will break out how I see the final couple of spots filling up and what my 2012 Real Salt Lake roster looks like. Until then I am

OFF MY SOAPBOX
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