Remember how the 2015 MLS season was almost delayed, and the sticking point was free agency?
Well, the reason a fair few players were ready to strike and voted against the CBA — including the delegation from Real Salt Lake that included Tony Beltran and Nick Rimando — just became a lot more clear.
One note stemming from Mapp signing and confirmed elsewhere: #MLS teams are limited to two signings from free agent pool.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) December 14, 2015
So — about that, right? We have, in essence, free agency for a very select group of players, those who are 28-years-old and have at least eight years of experience in the league, and they're given the option to go to whichever MLS team wants them.
Unless, you know, that MLS team has already signed two free agents.
Was free agency really won in the first place? This seems a bit like an unstructured, players-choice draft that's limited to two rounds. Or, you know, something like that.
It's all a little funny, especially as Targeted Allocation Money™ develops into something bigger this coming year — the CBA limits free agency significantly and sets out a very small salary cap boost over previous years, so we're left with these weird investment strategies within the organization that work around the rules they've imposed themselves.
It makes you wonder — if free agency was the stated goal of the collective bargaining agreement, why did representatives from 13 teams (or something in that range) throw out their hopes for something as gutted and insignificant as this?