Major League Soccer has just announced that, effective immediately, all teams will have two Designated Player slots and all teams will be allowed to purchase a third Designated Player slot.
No, this is NOT an April Fool's Joke.
According to the new guidelines, teams can have two Designated Players on their roster, with each player counting $335,000 against the salary cap. A third Designated Player slot can be purchased by any team for a cost of $250,000, with that money being dispersed among all teams that don't have three Designated Players (a third DP would also count as $335,000 against the team's salary cap). Also, teams can not trade slots, so the maximum any team can have is three Designated Players (The New York Red Bulls will be given a $70,000 allocation as compensation for the Designated Player slot they traded for in 2007).
The changes take effect immediately, meaning teams can theoretically add as many as two more Designated Players before the end of the current MLS transfer window on April 15. Teams that sign a Designated Player during the summer transfer window will only be charged with a $167,500 salary cap hit for the 2010 season for each Designated Player they sign during that period.
So what does this all mean?
It means teams can theoretically have three marquee players taking up $1 million of their salary cap come 2011 (and as low as $500,000 for 2010 if three Designated Players are signed during the summer), but they will have to pay $250,000 for the third slot. That money will be placed in a pool that will be dispersed to teams that don't have a third DP slot. So in theory, if half the league's teams signed three Designated Plyers, then the other eight teams would share a pot of $2,000,000, or $250,000 each that it could use as Allocation Money to spend on signings.
That change is a clever compromise to help appease the teams that are unlikely to sign multiple Designated Players.
The news also means that big-spending clubs such as New York, Los Angeles and Seattle can start getting ready to bring in multiple high-profile stars, which will not only improve the quality of the league, but also force all teams to dip into the Designated Player market. MLS teams will be hard-pressed to justify not using any DP slots when some teams are using as many as three.
What do you think of this dramatic change? Already imagining the players your team might go after? Think
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