The MLS Players Union has ratified the 2015 collective bargaining agreement, with a press release revealing some key details of the agreement — including the structure of the big sticking point in the deal, free agency.
Free agency structure
As expected, players who are 28 years old and have eight years of MLS experience are eligible to be free agents when they are out of contract. They'll be able to negotiate their salary within some predefined limits.
- League minimum – $100,000: up to 25 percent raise
- $100,000 – $200,000: up to 20 percent raise
- $200,000 and up: Up to 15 percent raise
However, players who "significantly outperform their contracts" will be eligible for additional increases. It's difficult to say how that's evaluated, or if there are pre-determined limits to judge by.
The re-entry draft will continue for certain players, but particularly those with three to four years of experience (for 23-year-olds and 25 year-olds and up, respectively) who haven't received a bona fide contract offer.
The budget starts at $3.49 million and will end at $4.24 million in 2019, giving a 20 percent total raise over the length of the agreement.
- 2015: $3.49 million
- 2016: $3.66 million (4.9 percent)
- 2017: $3.845 million (5 percent)
- 2018: $4.035 million (4.9 percent)
- 2019: $4.24 million (5.1 percent)
In addition to that, new amounts of allocation money will be provided to teams.
- 2015: $250,000
- 2016: $250,000
- 2017: $300,000
- 2018: $300,000
- 2019: $350,000
Senior minimum salary
There's another staged increase here.
- 2015: $60,000
- 2016: $62,500 (4.2 percent)
- 2017: $65,000 (4 percent)
- 2018: $67,500 (3.8 percent)
- 2019: $70,250 (4 percent)
Reserve minimum salary
Beyond the first 24 roster slots, reserve players can be kept on the following salaries.
- 2015: $50,000
- 2016: $51,500
- 2017: $53,000
- 2018: $54,500
- 2019: $56,250
Players who are 24 years old or younger will receive a bonus of $500 per MLS match in which they appear, and another $750 for each MLS match they start. This means a player who appears in 30 matches will receive an approximate 30 percent increase in earnings.
Players who are at least 24 years old and have played at least one year in MLS, and who are on an MLS team's opening roster the following season will have guaranteed contracts — the press release states that 81 percent of MLS players are now on guaranteed contracts.
Contracts signed for players at least 24 years old with two years of MLS service may have no more than two option years; contracts for all other players may have no more than three option years.
91 percent of MLS players voting in favor of its ratification.