As Real Salt Lake announced roster moves on contract deadline day, they pointed out that four players still remain out of contract, and they’re big ones: Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Brooks Lennon, and Chris Wingert.
With three of those four players inevitably nearing the end of their playing careers — Beckerman and Wingert are 35, Rimando is 38 — one can’t help but wonder what lies ahead in their immediate future, especially during the offseason. There’s still plenty of time for RSL to negotiate contracts with all of them ahead of next season, but I can’t deny it’s a little unnerving to see all their names on that same list.
Lennon, 20, is still on loan from English Premier League giants Liverpool and is set to return to England when his loan period expires at the end of the year. Unless RSL can work out a deal to keep him here on a permanent basis, he’ll play out the final six months of his contract with the Reds — presumably with their U-23 side — before deciding the next step in his career.
As for the other three players, it’s tough to imagine an RSL roster without any of them on it, although we all know it’s got to come sooner or later, unfortunately. Both Beckerman and Rimando seem to still have gas left in the tank as they both logged well over 2000 minutes and started the majority of games in 2017.
Wingert, who seemed to have fallen behind Demar Phillips in the pecking order (when he’s healthy), ended up starting 20 games this season through 23 appearances, and even managed to notch the second goal of his MLS career. With the news of Phillips being re-signed, and a solid young Danny Acosta available at left back, Wingert’s future in Salt Lake is up in the air as far as we can see at the moment.
If RSL should fail to negotiate new contracts for these guys, Beckerman, Rimando, and Wingert would all be eligible for MLS Free Agency, or they can choose to enter the Re-Entry Draft ahead of next year.
As you undoubtedly remember, we already said goodbye to possibly the most defining element of RSL’s game earlier this month: Kyle Beckerman’s dreadlocks. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to say goodbye to the rest of him quite yet.
We’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for news on any of these contract negotiations going forward.