Let the silly season of signing officially begin.
Earlier today, RSL announced that the club had declined contract offers on seven players. This, in addition to three players being out-of-contract (those being Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, and Kyle Beckerman) and the ongoing discussion over the status of Brooks Lennon's loan, leaves the club with eighteen remaining on a guaranteed contract heading into the 2018 season.
However, as we know, these current statuses don't necessarily mean a player is leaving the club or not. New contracts can always be renegotiated, and new offers can always be extended to those declined. For now, the fates of these players are merely up in the air - at least from the perspective of us fans.
So, I've had a little fun with it.
Below, I've listed who out of the eleven in-limbo players I believe probably will and probably won't return to the club for the 2018 season, based both on the needs of their position and their form from the 2017 season. The list ranges from those I believe we're least likely to see again, to players that will make a almost-definite return.
Feel free to comment below with your own thoughts on the matter!
Who's In, Who's Out? for 2018
10. Ricardo Velazco - Wasn't exactly contributing on the pitch, and then really screwed his chances with his actions off of it. I wouldn't expect to spot him again.
9. Omar Holness - In some ways, I feel bad, considering his long-term injury cost him a season of development. But...potentially interesting young midfield talent from Jose Hernandez and Nick Besler make him expendable for me.
8. Chris Schuler - The Second Coming of Chris ended up being another injury-plagued dud. Could a third time be the charm for Schuler? With our current back line, I wouldn't risk it.
7. Matt VanOekel - In his few chances last season, he proved himself to be a decent keeper. However, with the club having signed Connor Sparrow mid-season, my guess is "decent" may not be enough to justify keeping him for back-up.
6. Chris Wingert - Torn between loyalty and necessity on this one. Wingert is a club legend, and certainly isn't the worst fullback out there. But does he really fit into Petke's plans going forward?
5. Chad Barrett - Another unfortunate season-long injury here, but one in a contentious central forward position. He's no world-beater - but could prove a solid backup for Yura Movsisyan or Luis Silva.
4. Justin Schmidt - Had very limited chances to play during the season, but made the most of every opportunity. There's some solid young talent here - worth another season of development.
3. Brooks Lennon - The loan may be up, but he's made a name for himself already. For the right price, I imagine Liverpool would be willing to budge - and I expect RSL to come with a good offering.
2. Nick Rimando - The Wall of the Wasatch will remain standing. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if his next contract is a shorter, one year, "maybe I'll retire after this season" sort of thing.
1. Kyle Beckerman - C'mon, now. There's little doubt in anyone's mind that the Cap will return.