Editorial (April 26, 2017) – That’s right MLS fans, it’s that wonderful day of the year when MLS Player’s Union releases salary information. Now we get to sift through every team’s salary budget and make judgments. Here’s my (imperfect) attempt at MLS Salary Budget math and analysis of the LA Galaxy’s player salaries.
UPDATE: The LA Galaxy confirmed two corrections. The club is only responsible for the league minimum on Jack McInerney’s contract. Also, Joao Pedro’s numbers do not reflect the TAM used on his contract and transfer fee, and thus is not accurate.
LA Galaxy 2017 Player Salaries Breakdown: Cheap Contributors And Expensive Dead Weight
Here is the link to the full list of Player Salaries for the 2017 MLS Season. For those of you needing a refresher on the MLS Roster Rules and list of Homegrowns, you can find those here and here, respectively. If you want a brief crash course in MLS Roster Salary Rules/Math, here’s a good piece from Matt Doyle at MLSSoccer.com.
The LA Galaxy also released some updated roster information before the start of the season. That has since been updated in a few ways.
First, Dan Kennedy has retired, so he is no longer on payroll for the Galaxy. Defender Robbie Rogers has also been placed on the Season Ending Injury List, giving the Galaxy some cap relief. Backup goalkeeper Jon Kempin is not on that list as well (he signed a few days later)
LA Galaxy 2017 Player Salaries:
So with that, let’s take a look at the Galaxy’s payroll:
If you’d like to download my fancy Google Sheet, click here. This sheet is based on a collection of sources and information. It probably isn’t perfect. The players are broken up into three groups, Senior Roster, Supplemental, and Reserves.
The Senior Roster players (slots 1-20) count against the Salary Budget of about $3.85 million for 2017. At least 18 of those spots have to be taken up.
The Supplemental players make up roster spot 21-24 and DO NOT count against the cap. They all have to make around $65,000 a year. Villarreal is listed here according the Galaxy. I assume his $105,000 salary has some of the new Homegrown money allocation, known as the Jordan Morris Rule. In theory, some of Gyasi Zardes’s contact could have some of that in addition to the TAM he’s getting.
Lastly are the Reserve Players (roster spot 25-30). These players make at least 53,000. They don’t count against the cap. Homegrowns making more than $53,000 through Homegrown subsidiaries can be listed here as well.
Roster Flexibility Unknown:
Currently 26 of 30 roster spots are filled (with Rogers on the Season-Ending Injury list). All eight International spots are being used.
The Galaxy have two senior spots open now. I’ve included Rogers on the Google Sheet for the sake of completeness. The Galaxy have all of their supplemental slots filled. They have two open reserve spots. They could fill that later in the season with a Homegrown, LA Galaxy II player, or external signing. There are also have Homegrowns listed as Senior and Supplimental players who in theory could be moved around to make more space on Senior Roster.
That could give the front office the ability to add up to four senior level players (pending confusing MLS roster rules).
It’s unclear how much cap space the Galaxy have. If you just add up the salaries for the 26 senior players (Rogers excluded, DP/TAM players at the max $480,625), you get about $4.3 million. That’s $450k over budget.
This isn’t cause for Galaxy haters to get up in arms about the Galaxy breaking rules. MLS teams were given $1.2 million in TAM for 2017. We don’t have info on how much TAM the Galaxy used on Jermaine Jones, Zardes, or Joao Pedro. We know it’s at least their salary – $480,625 for Zardes and Jones. Some of the TAM used on Pedro could have been spent on the transfer fee.
But the Galaxy could be playing those players down further with TAM. They could be using GAM elsewhere to buy down salaries. We don’t have that information. So it’s hard to guess how much cap space, TAM, and GAM the Galaxy have to use in filling those open senior roster spots.
Cheap Young Contributors And Overpaid Old Guys:
So looking at the actual numbers, where are the Galaxy getting good/poor value for their money?
First, we know Romain Alessandrini is making just under $2 million. That’s about what he was making in Ligue 1. It’s good to see he didn’t want a huge raise coming to MLS. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, he’s a great value.
On the other side of things, some of the other DP/TAM level players aren’t pulling their weight. Giovani dos Santos is the highest paid player (making double of what Alessandrini is making). He has been a disappointment so far. If you’re making over $5 million, you need to be one of the best players in MLS.
Jones, Pedro, and Zardes also have yet to settle in this year. They have not played up to the expectations based on the money invested in them. I give Zardes a pass given what’s going on around him and the fact that he was injured to start the year.
There’s only one other senior roster player who’s salary jumps out: Jack McInerney is making $325,000. He’s at best the third striker on this team. For comparison, Alan Gordon and Mike Magee made $170k and $250k in 2016 for LA. Fortunately for the Galaxy, they are only responsible for the league minimum part of Jack Mack’s contract. For their two substitute strikers (McInerney and Jack McBeam) to be around the league minimum, that’s a decent value.
Looking down the roster, the Galaxy do have some good value contributors. Other than Zardes and Jose Villarreal, every Homegrown is making under six figures.
Pending McInerney’s place in the team, Jack McBean, Bradford Jamieson IV, and Raul Mendiola are going to be in the 18 and can contribute off the bench. So could Ariel Lassiter. Nathan Smith is also getting some great experience starting at right back as a reserve player.