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Seven takeaways from the 2021 RSL salary dump

San Jose Earthquakes v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

It’s that time of year again — the semi-annual salary dump is here, and we finally, after nearly two years of obfuscation, have some idea what players are making for this team.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, a few caveats.

First, this is not a one-to-one look at the salary cap. The numerous mechanisms in place in MLS mean we don’t actually have a good view of that.

Second, many teams and players would tell you that these numbers aren’t fully accurate. Take them as a rough guide, at best. They’ll give us something to talk about, all the same.

Finally, have fun, and let’s make sure Rubio Rubin gets a big contract next year, because...

Rubio Rubin is a steal

Now, maybe Rubin has some wild bonuses around goalscoring, but Andrew Putna currently makes more than Rubin. That’s wild. Rubin has been our best player by a country mile. He’s scoring goals. He’s only on $152,000 guaranteed compensation.

If Rubin continues to play well, there is no reason he shouldn’t be on a big money contract at the start of next year — or at least bigger money. He’ll deserve it. If he completely drops off — well, three goals and two assists is what Albert Rusnak had last year, so I dunno.

Three players over $1m

Our three highest paid players, in reverse order, are:

  • Everton Luiz,$1.26m guaranteed
  • Damir Kreilach, $1.35m guaranteed
  • Albert Rusnak, $2.35m guaranteed

Wild, isn’t it? Rusnak makes $1,000,000 more than our second-highest-paid player. When we demand more out of him, things like this are why.

I’m also really curious about Everton Luiz’s salary here. Was he on that same number last year? I wish I knew. It’s too bad that we didn’t get numbers for 2020, because I’d love to know if his salary bumped after a really good season or a pretty poor one.

David Ochoa, starting RSL goalkeeper

Look at Ochoa’s number — $90,000 annually. That’s not a lot for a starting goalkeeper in this league. Andrew Putna’s on $150,000 or so, and Zac MacMath is on $200,000.

It’s always interesting when the starting player is making less than half what the backup makes. There’s also something to be said about experience here, so I get it, but if I were Ochoa, I would let that fuel me to great heights. (He’ll also probably be an extremely well paid player later in his career if he succeeds, so I bet he’s not too bothered quite yet.)

Jeizon Ramirez still exists, I guess

It is fascinating to me that we are paying Jeizon Ramirez $400,000, and he’s not playing. This is not a new phenomenon, but I am extremely curious about it, all the same. He continues to make the bench, he continues to not see minutes. Do we ever intend to play him? Are we fine if he sits on the bench for his RSL career and fades into obscurity? I think it’s really too bad, and I want to see him play. I want him to have a chance. If we’re paying him this much, somebody had faith in him. Is that person still at the club?

Top five steals that aren’t Rubio Rubin

  • 5) Douglas Martinez — He’s our backup striker and he’s also our fourth-lowest paid player.
  • 4) Maikel Chang — He had a pretty good year last year (one of the few RSL players who did) and he’s making under $100,000. I can’t complain.
  • 3) Andrew Brody — This is only based on his first few games for us, but I’d argue that Brody is a considerable steal at $85,000. I’ve been extremely impressed with his performances to date.
  • 2) David Ochoa — A starting goalkeeper on $90,000 — in this economy?
  • 1) Rubio Rubin — I was trying to find other players who were steals and I couldn’t come up with five, so you’ve got Rubin here again, because he’s really quite a spectacular steal.

New signings

  • Anderson Julio, $485,000
  • Rubio Rubin, $152,067
  • Bret Halsey, $88,875 (Generation Adidas contract)
  • Bode Davis, $67,841
  • Jeff Dewsnup, $73,372
  • Noah Powder, $67,609

In summary

While we’ve got some steals, and while we’ve got a few players that may be overpaid in relation to their colleagues, I think this is generally a pretty good look for RSL. The players with the most minutes tend to be (but are not always) the players who make the most money. That’s generally what you want from your roster, unless you are paying young players significant sums as an investment in their future.