One day after a roller coaster of events in the MLS collective bargaining agreement negotiations, we now have a new CBA in place. Earlier this evening, it was announced that the league and the players union had agreed to a new five year deal that will take the two through the 2019 MLS season.
While it's brought happiness to the fans with the knowledge that there will not be a work stoppage, not everyone is happy with the deal (including apparently Sporting KC's representatives who according to sources voted against the deal). Overall it seems like both sides gave things up to make sure that the season took place, as Nat Borchers put it, "it's not perfect, but it's progress..."
The deal will apparently see players get a measure of free agency, players that are at least 28 years old AND have at least eight years of experience in the league will be eligible for free agency. For Sporting Kansas City what that means that they'll have three players that meet the requirements after the 2015 season; Chance Myers who is entering his eighth season in the league this year, Paulo Nagamura, who is entering his 11th season in the league, and Jacob Peterson who is entering his 10th season in MLS. The deal isn't ideal for some players in the league, specifically homegrown players who sign with the league when they are younger and will have to play 10 or more seasons before they hit the required threshold. Most of those players though won't hit either threshold by the time this CBA expires. It does hurt a few players like Luis Gil and Diego Fagundez who will hit the service limit of eight years but won't be close to the age limit for free agency, but the level of free agency that would have been given was never going to reach a level to help them out in this cycle.
The other big news of the CBA that came out was an increase in the league's minimum salary. The salary will go up from about $37,000 to $61,000 a nice increase for those players near the bottom of the league's roster. For Kansas City, the likes of Kevin Ellis, Jimmy Medranda, and Erik Palmer-Brown will all see a decent bump in their pay check in the 2015 season. It's also good news for the club's four rookies Saad Abdul-Salaam, Amadou Dia, Connor Hallisey, and James Ansu Rogers, who were all likely to be close to or under the new minimum of $61,000.
With the new salary minimum, the salary cap is set to go up. Reports don't appear to be as high as some people expected as it sounds like it may only go up to $4 million a year. It won't give teams a ton of extra cap space to spend in the 2015 season.
With the deal done there will be a lot of dissecting of the new agreement over the next weeks and months as information comes out, but the thing for sure is that the season kicks off Friday, and Sporting start things on Sunday.