Colorado Rapids 2017 Player Salaries Breakdown: Budget Space And Some Overpaid Americans

Embed from Getty Images
COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO - FEBRUARY 12: Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni, right, talks to players at the end of soccer practice on the practice fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on February 12, 2017 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Editorial (April 27, 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 Colorado’s player salaries.

Colorado Rapids 2017 Player Salaries Breakdown: Budget Space And Some Overpaid Americans

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

Colorado Rapids 2017 Player Salaries:

So with that, let’s take a look at Colorado’s payroll:

If you’d like to download my fancy Google Sheet, click here. The details within the sheet are based on what information MLS provides. 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 budget. They all have to make around $65,000 a year. Caleb Calvert is on there making around $100,000. Some of that money could come from the new Homegrown allocated money as part of the Jordan Morris Rule.

Lastly are the Reserve Players (roster spot 25-30). These players make at least 53,000. They don’t count against the budget. Homegrowns making more than $53,000 through Homegrown subsidiaries can be listed here as well.

Roster Flexibility:

The Rapids do have some roster flexibility with 26 of 30 roster spots taken. They have one open supplemental roster spot and three reserve roster spots.

The wandering Juan Edgardo Ramirez is on loan in Argentina, so he doesn’t count against the salary. He also doesn’t take up an International roster spot while on loan. His contact runs out in June. I assume the Rapids won’t be re-signing him, so that’s an open senior level roster spot for the summer.

Colorado could have $239,000 in budget space. For 2017, MLS teams have around $3.85 million for their senior roster (those first 20 spots). Take the total base salary of the senior level players (excluding Ramirez cause he’s on loan), and you get about $239,000. If we do the same calculation with guaranteed compensation, we get $95,000.

Now, we don’t have a complete record of where and how much TAM and GAM the Rapids used. MLS teams have $1.2 million of TAM for the 2017 season. The Rapids probably didn’t use all of that on Bismark Boateng. So they have a decent amount of budget space open and some TAM to play with.

This will allow the front office to go out and get a significant senior level contributor in the summer. They could also get a decent contributor with the open supplemental roster spot.

Good And Poor Value Players:

While the Rapids aren’t wasting money on DP players like some other teams, they could be getting more production from all three DPs. Tim Howard gets back from suspension after this weekend’s match. Shkelzen Gashi is still dealing with an Achilles flare that’s been bothering him since last year. Kevin Doyle continues to be at the bottom of the league in goals/dollar paid.

The Rapids need Howard back in goal, Gashi healthy, and Doyle to get rolling. (How they go about doing that is for another article at another time). It’s also unfortunate that their next most expensive player, Boateng, is out for a few months with a back issue.

After that, the Rapids don’t have that many huge contracts. Dillon Powers is the only other player making over $200,000. This roster has lots of valuable players contributing in the 18.

Dominique Badji is still making the senior minimum. Axel Sjoberg, Michael Azira, and Marlon Hairston are all making less than $150,000. We also learned that Alan Gordon is making $180,000, so he took a slight pay cut to come to the Rapids this year.

There are a few players making more than their contributions. As good as the club was in 2016, Powers was a disappointment. With a fully healthy roster, I’m not even sure that Powers is a starter. A $300,000 bench player better be one of the best substitutes in the league. Powers hasn’t been that and he hasn’t been stellar as a starter this year.

While they’re new to the team, Mohammed Saeid and Josh Gatt are both making over $150,000. Like Powers, when this team is fully healthy, I’m not sure these two are even starters. Gatt might not even be on the bench. For their trade to work out, these two have to become contributors. Results TBD.

It doesn’t matter much┬ásince he’s not on the senior roster, but Caleb Calvert is making six figures. While some of that could be from Homegrown subsidiaries, if he ever moves to the senior roster, his contributions should go under more detailed evaluation when looking at the salary budget.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.