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Red Bulls sign Wright-Phillips as Designated Player


Photo by Brad Penner/USAToday Sports



Bradley Wright-Phillips is set to reap the rewards of his breakout 2014 season.

The New York Red Bulls announced Wednesday that the club has signed Wright-Phillips as a Designated Player following a 2014 campaign that saw the Englishman claim the MLS Golden Boot with 27 league goals.

“Following his outstanding performances in 2014, which produced 31 goals in all competitions, the club has decided to make Bradley Wright-Phillips a MLS Designated Player,” said New York Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh. “Bradley is not only a prolific goal scorer, he is an excellent professional and a great team player who will be a big asset to the club in the coming seasons.”

Wright-Phillips, who joined the Red Bulls in 2013, was recently named to the MLS Best XI for his 2014 performances, which also earned the forward recognition as team MVP.

The news of Wright-Phillips signing comes just two days after the departure of former DP Thierry Henry, whose time with the club ended Monday after four-and-a-half years.

As things stand, Wright-Phillips will now join midfielder Tim Cahill as the Red Bulls’ two DP’s.


What do you think of the Red Bulls adding Wright-Phillips as a DP? Good move for the club? What moves would you like to see the team make going forward?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. BWP was the third DP all season. He was consistent through the year and will continue to do so. He is a quality player that never found the right fit but fits with this team. a lot of haters in this page need to give this man credit and need to put to rest the henry discussion. He is gone and his memory should quickly evaporate given that he did not do much in making this team a dynasty. BWP put up the numbers that henry should have but didnt. Five assists from Alexander, Sam, and the team and he is at 15 goals. I’m not worried about the seven assists provided by henry!!!

  2. Classic case of buying high. I do like him in and around the 6 yard box, but he’s pretty poor with the ball at his feet and I don’t know if he’s gonna get as many chances as he got this year without Henry.

    I just can’t imagine how a 30ish striker who has been floating around the Championship and League 1 his whole career before MLS suddenly turns into an Designated Player. I think its more likely it was a flukey (Henry aided) season and he’ll return to being the player he’s been his whole career

  3. Good player but without Henry I think his goal scoring will drop off significantly. That is, unless RBNY sign someone capable of replacing Henry but since that will require a lot of money and ownership is in cheap out mode, I don’t see that happening. Henry was capable of making a complete scrub like Luke Rodgers look good. I’m happy with the signing though. BWP is a good player and seems like a nice guy so I’m glad to have him back for 2015.

    • Red Bulls need a DP-quality winger, which they probably can get for a lot less then they were paying Henry. Then move Cahill up top with BWP, keep Peguy behind them and Sam on the other side. BWP may not get 27 goals without Henry (scoring at that level consistently is next to impossible in MLS regardless), but Cahill would make up some of the difference and he would finally be used in his strongest spot.

      • That would require another formation change, from the 4-2-3-1 that Petke chose to provide some additional protection for his leaky back line.

  4. deserves the money but should never be a DP. this is why the DP minimum salary has to be raised. Zusi, Besler, Omar, BWP, etc. are not fitting of the DP tag. Kaka, Henry, Lampard, Villa, etc. make sense to be DPs. it’s tough though, i get that.

    i just hope the new CBA addresses this. NYRB shouldn’t lose a DP to keep BWP. and neither should DC United w/ EJ, SKC w/ Zusi/Besler, Philly w/ Edu, etc.

      • the last thing MLS needs is another exception/rule. just raise the DP minimum from a very low $378k to something around $1m. of course, the cap has to be raised in addition to make it work.

      • bryan, you know the rules better than I. Why does NYRB have to “lose a DP slot” if they want to give BWP a raise? Is there a cap on non-DP salary? I know that there is a team salary cap. DP salaries don’t count toward the cap, right? So I can see how it might be impossible to find room in the team cap to give a non-DP a raise, but I don’t see how “raising the DP minimum” has anything to do with that.

        Let’s say that MLS raised the team cap to $10M but made no other changes; could NYRB pay BWP $2M but not call him a DP?

      • any salary over $378k means that player will be labeled as a DP…even if they are only making $400k. it also means anything over $387.5k will not count against the cap. so if a player does make $400k, they are taking a DP slot up and all but $12.5k counts against the cap.

        having that DP minimum salary so low means players like BWP who make just over that minimum take up a DP slot and now it can’t be used on a true DP-caliber player. this whole DP thing was created to attract Beckham type players. Besler, Omar, Zusi, BWP, Valeri, etc, do not fit that bill. and that is no offense to them, it’s just the reality.

        so my suggestion is 1. raise the DP minimum from $387.5k to $1M or so. now all those players listed above are no longer DPs and their teams can actually use it on a DP-caliber player if they want. 2. to make that work, the cap HAS to go up pretty high as well. if a player making $600k is no longer a DP, their full salary is now on the books as opposed to only $387.5k. that’s a cap hit of $212.5k just for one player. so $3.5M isn’t gonna cut it and something around $7m-$10m is probably required.

        as for your last question, no, under the current rules he would still be a DP because he makes over $387.5.

      • and to be clear, a DP player is still being paid in full by the club. it’s simply a cap mechanism. so it’s not like player salaries will go up. they’ll stay the same, but it will affect the cap hit differently. so it’s not going to break the bank. that money is already being paid, it’s just not counting against a $3.5m cap.

    • Another question for you: I’m curious about your desired distinction for DP. You dismiss some players who are absolutely essential for their teams and accept only global superstars. I’m not sure what purpose you see for the DP label. I think it makes sense as a “player we can’t live without and so are willing to do whatever we can (i.e., pay) to get/keep him.” Thus, Beckerman, Rimando, Ozzie Alonso, Oba, Omar, et al.

      • it’s not what i think, it’s what the rule was designed for. the Beckham rule has moved away from that into something else. all those players deserve the money but they are not the type of players the DP rule was designed for.

        to me, for players a team cannot live without, they should be paid as such which these teams are doing. they are still paying these players their full salaries. i’m simply saying don’t penalized them by making them use a DP slot simply because they make more than $387.5k. that is a very low number. maybe $1m is too high, but it should be raised, IMO.

      • Thanks for the explanations. I didn’t realize that a player must be a DP in order to make over $387.5k. So no team could pay four of its players $400k. Huh.

        After reading your answers, it seems that the primary roadblock is the salary cap, not the DP minimum (as you note in step 2 of your plan, above). Meaning, raising the cap only would solve a lot of problems, but raising the DP minimum only wouldn’t help at all.

        I don’t see the DP rule as purely for attracting Superstars. It’s not only about salary cap. It’s also about draft/allocation order. Being able to jump to the front of the line and recruit a player—even if it’s only for $400-800k—is a big deal (e.g., Edu, DMB, Valeri…it’s a long list). But I can see how a low DP minimum really penalizes a team that recruits a lesser-known player, develops him, and turns him into an MLS star and is then forced to lose a DP slot on him (e.g., Alonso). It’s like the team is hindered from recruiting all because it was so smart about recruiting.

      • yup, unless they have enough allocation money to pay down the salary to below the minimum.

        and yes, the primary roadblock is the cap. you cannot raise the DP minimum and leave the cap as is, or only up it a little. that would result in a ton of cap issues and i’d guess that every team would be over the cap. this is why i pitch the idea of doing both.

        as for what the DP should be, that’s fair. and i think that is a debate that has to happen. not only with the owners and league, but fans as well. personally, i think the DP slots should be reserved for superstars. that’s how i’ve always associated it and it makes sense.

        as for the allocation order thing, that only really applies to US players and in the end, the league has final say if the DP target meets their “threshold”. but even though, we get a situation like Jones where he fit the threshold, which we THINK is tied to salary, but he still ended up in a blind draw between two teams. so i honestly think upping the DP minimum would change nothing there. MLS is gonna MLS.

        on that last point, spot on. Besler and Zusi too. Yedlin would have to become a DP if Seattle wanted to keep him and match his wages at Spurs (this under the assumption Yedlin would stay if they made him a DP). all these players are great, and i love having them in MLS, and they deserve the money, but they are not what I consider a DP. or, if they are, then there has to be more than 3 spots.

        this all worked well for awhile, but MLS has changed and the rules should overhauled as well to bring them more aligned with the state of the league today.

      • King – responded but for some reason my comment is under moderation. nothing remotely objectable so who knows why it got held up.

      • I think this is a really great discussion (and bryan has nailed it in the explanation).

        But it still leaves the discussion of “what to do”?

        As you’ve said, it’s hard to know exactly what result increasing the DP salary threshhold would produce, given the interaction beween this an the cap. When it comes to negotitions with the players, it’s hard to know “who wants what” as relates to DP’s. Raising the DP cap hit could conceivably be worse for the players (who should logically be interested in the median player salary) if a team chose to beef up at the top end of the non-DP roster.

      • good points Diego.

        also, this is unrelated to this conversation but related to the Forbes MLS valuations, but did you see this article:

        forbes DOT com DOT mx/los-30-equipos-de-futbol-mas-valiosos-de-america/

        this ranks the top 30 wealthiest clubs in the Americas. Impact and Crew at 25 and 29, respectively. TFC nowhere to be found, NYRB rated the highest of MLS (#5 overall), and Seattle all the way down at 21.

      • That Forbes list includes the value of a team’s stadium. So $216M of NYRB’s $250M estimation; i.e., $34M for the players, sponsorships, etc. Compared to Seattle’s non-stadium $80M.

        As for the CBA, I can see how most players would want, in this order:
        1) salary cap increase
        2) DP minimum raised
        3) DP number maintained/reduced—unless the league continues to not count any DP salary over $387k.

  5. Of course this is a no brainer, provided the number is less than $800k or so. He’s not going to score 27 without Henry, but if they get even a mediocre #10 (not a great one, an average one) he will get 12-15. That’s certainly worth low DP money. Jut like Wondo is totally worth his salary because he can be counted on for 12-17 goals every year, even for an awful team as SJ this past season. And let’s not forget, Cooper was made better by Henry, but not to the tune of 27 goals. Ditto for that little English guy whose name I can’t remember. For 600k BWP would be a super signing.

    • Luke Rodgers is the little guy to which you’re referring. He scored 9 goals with Henry feeding him the ball and attracting defenders…

  6. Congrants to BWP, and congrats to the Red Bulls for rewarding its player. I love it when guys earn their DP contracts on the pitch (Wondo, Omar, Alonso). It’s like a promotion. It’s good to see.

    • Agreed.

      Alonso, leading that group who are all still earning it……

      I think the biggest fear is it is one season and many are crediting Henry being a beast in one of his last years as the reason for a great season.

  7. Wow, I would have giving him a raise but not a DP salary. Red bull should have given him a detailed contract, if you score and play like you did this season with HENRY,then we can talk DP money.
    Remember Henry made others look good and they felt pressured to compete at a higher level and now the DP contract might be too much pressure for him.
    They should have gone after a player like drogba, sneijder that know what’s pressure and big money.
    So I guess their delusional coach does like dps after all.
    Now get rid of Cahill and bring 2 big dps.

      • BWP has a horrible agent if he got anything lower than Wondo got after he won the Golden Boot. My guess is it’s between the 700k – 800k range.

    • Well we don’t know for sure how substantial his raise is yet. However, he was already being paid a decent amount ($330k), so his raise may not be substantial.

      • +1 It would be a pretty forgettable raise for him to not be a DP.

        Having said that, I’m def curious what the number is. I’m thinking a little south of $1mm, but who knows….

      • It’s an interesting question you raise (and one I don’t really have a good idea about). How is the DP threshhold set, and what sort of number would the players be advocating for to the extent it is a consideration in the CBA negotiations? Any thoughts?

      • meant $387.5k, whoops.

        i wish i knew the whole DP threshold thing better. as we know is the rules say if the threshold is met, they player is a DP and skips allocation. but there is no context around that threshold.

        i’m not sure, to be honest, if the non-DP players would comment on the DP thing much at all. if i was them, i’d focus on stuff affecting me and my non-DP salary/contract. i think the coaches and owners will be the ones pushing for an additional DP spot. or at least a chunk of them.

        one thing’s for sure, the CBA should be an interesting topic to follow.

      • I agree. I think raising the DP # is something most parties can understand and probably something the league is ready for.

        But once the # gets past 4 and people start making noises about 5-6, you wonder how the league would feel, because this would start to seriously threaten the possibility of parity. I think they’ll do it, but with very cautious plans for the future.

      • exactly. and at that point it would likely be time to remove the DP rule altogether, raise the cap accordingly, and have the league work with free agency and all the stuff normal leagues have. because if people are asking for 5-6 DPs, you would assume the league is at a point to move to MLS 3.0 or 4.0.

      • As I said before, I see two reasons for the DP rule(s):

        1) Avoid hitting the salary cap
        2) Jump in front of the allocation order

        Raising the salary cap reduces the need for and value of #1. But because of #2, even if the salary cap were $50M, the DP slots would be valuable—for those teams wealthy enough to be able to use them. That’s why I believe that players and anyone pushing for parity will hope to keep the DP number down. But in a single-entity league, even with a $50M-salary cap, I think there still needs to be the DP rule for reason #2.

      • All great points. Makes you realize what a strangely fascinating concept the DP player rule is. There really is no precedent in all of sports.

        Some might point to the “franchise player” rule that the NFL introduced years ago (though they really have no simliarity in either motivation or form). The rule very quickly turned into something quite different from what was intended, with teams using (or threatening to use) the “franchise tag” on everthing from injured linemen to placekickers.

        I really have no idea how DP’s look in the MLS 3.0 and beyond. But it’s such a powerful mechanism, I also don’t see them abaondoning it.

        Scratching my head.

      • i actually don’t agree with #2. the DP was not created with allocation in mind. Lampard, Villa, etc. don’t go through allocation. that only comes into play with returning US players who make a DP-level salary.

        i do agree that raising the cap reduces the need for DPs, but ONLY if they raise the cap significantly. to get rid of DPs, you are going to have to have a cap of around $30m-$40m based on the current set up.

        as for parity, whatever the decision is, they have to take parity into consideration. absolutely. but a salary cap itself is a mechanism to promote parity. whether it’s a combo of DP slot and a smaller cap, or no DP spots and a bigger cap, in the end it all works out the same if done right. which is preventing one team from buying up everyone.

        in the end, i more or less agree with you that having a cap and DP slots is probably the best idea right now. i just think 3 DPs and a $3.5m cap is not cutting it anymore. just look at the lack of depth MLS teams have that is magnified when we play Liga MX teams. i think a 4th DP slot with a cap around $7m-$10m with a DP minimum salary up closer to a $1m is the way to go.

        in 2.0, MLS wants to attract big names. they can’t do that if all the DPs slots are filled up with guys like BWP. but at the same time, under the current rules, you have to make him a DP because you can’t let him go. i’m sure most clubs would like to move these players making under $1m, but more than $387.5k, off their DP quota. but only if the cap is adjusted in a way that it does not affect their ability to keep these players.

        i just think players who are good and who the club want to keep deserve to be paid as such without the need for labeling them a DP and thus preventing that club for going out and getting a guy who is going to require a few million a year.

  8. BWP had 27 league G (31 in all competitions), Henry had 14 league A. Coincidence?

    He did so well it verges on no-brainer but NYRB would need to make sure a new playmaker a around.

    • This. I’m a broken record, having said this many times before, but Thierry Henry made a habit of making mediocre players look world-class. That’s not a slam on BWP – he’s very good on his own – but without a great playmaker, I wonder how he’ll do next season.

      • NYRB just need to replace Henry with another superior passer. Hmmm, let’s see…. NYCFC was courting Xavi, but he can’t handle the thought of losing his long-time passing partner. So NYRB should court Iniesta. Not the same team, but at least the same city state initials.

      • Yep, Kenny Cooper had 18 goals with Red Bulls in 2012 and only 9 in the two seasons since he left. BWP is better than KC, but Henry created the lion’s share of chances for both.

      • Genuine question: How fair is that comparison to Kenny Cooper? I mean, he hasn’t scored a ton for Seattle, but he also has very few minutes. I assume that BWP will be more than an 80th-minute sub for NYRB next year.

      • I referred to two seasons worth of work: 31 games with Dallas and 21 with Seattle. I think that 52 games over 2 seasons with 2 different teams is a pretty fair snapshot of player’s performance. By the way, he was a starter with Dallas. The point is that he was a big scorer when lining up next to Henry, but has not been able to match his performances since he moved to other teams.

  9. Good for Bradley. He had an outstanding season. However,…unless Red Bulls sign a real #10,…I could see his production drop to 10 goals.

    • Agreed. This sounds like another Emilio (for us DC fans) who became a DP after a great scoring season, then completely fell off the map when his service dried up.

      BWP is not someone who creates something from nothing. He’s good, Wondo MLS good, but I don’t think either are a DP level striker or fan draw.

      • Good comparison Josh. The only thing I’d add is Emilio’s salary was not that high over the DP threshold so it wasn’t such a huge gamble for DC and I’m assuming NY want be paying him 3 mil+ so to me he fits in the good player(like a Wondo) you want in the league if he is getting under a certain salary. He want attract many fans but help the team remain competitive which hopefully brings out fans on their own.

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