Sunday, January 22, 2017

Okugo's Rights Return to KC?

Some interesting news today that on the surface seems to be peak MLS, as Sporting KC apparently now have the MLS rights to Amobi Okugo again. At the end of the season, the Portland Timbers said that Okugo was out of contract with the club in their end of season roster announcement. Portland had said that they were interested in bringing Okugo back to the Timbers, in fact there were reports last night that it looked to be a done deal. This morning though a string of Tweets by Jeff Carlisle made the water murkier. Carlisle said that there was a hang up in the Okugo deal with Portland because while he was out of contract with the Timbers, he was apparently not out of contract with MLS and that his rights had reverted back to Sporting KC, who had waived the midfielder in early 2016. Carlisle continued, saying that Okugo was entering the third year of his three year contract that he had signed with Orlando back in 2015. The contract was guaranteed, meaning that he was still under contract to the league after Sporting had waived him (he played one game for the New York Red Bulls 2 in the 2016 USL season before signing with the Timbers). Carlisle finished saying that the hang-up has to do with which team is responsible for how much money in Okugo's new contract, presuming that KC could have to take some kind of hit because of the status of Okugo's contract when he was waived. Apparently the Timbers' commitment to Okugo was only for the 2016 season even though he still had a year on his contract.

Ives Galarcep jumped into the conversation, saying that the signing of Okugo was technically a loan and that at this point Okugo's rights reverted back to Kansas City, but that KC probably won't have to deal with Okugo's cap hit unless he is on the active roster and that his being waived released KC from being on the hook for his salary.

It seems a weird situation for all parties involved, but what it would seem to mean is that Portland would have to some how acquire Okugo's MLS rights from Kansas City to sign him to a new deal. That'd likely mean that KC would get some kind of throw away draft pick or at best some small amount of allocation money from the Timbers. With KC's current roster status it really doesn't make sense for them to bring back Okugo, especially on the deal that he was signed for, which was $300,000. Some times you got to love MLS's weird rules.

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