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Will Drew Moor and Bobby Burling stay with the Rapids?

The Rapids made their first roster moves for 2016, declining the options on eleven players and having two more players go out of contract. Two stalwart defenders and fan favorites were among that group. Could they still be back in 2016?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In news that caught Colorado Rapids Nation a bit off-guard, the Rapids announced that thirteen players from the 2015 edition of the Rapids would not be returning for next year. But what really surprised Rapids fans was the news that MLS All-Star and long-tenured Rapid's Center Back Drew Moor would not have his option renewed for 2016. In a double blow, Colorado-native Bobby Burling was revealed to be out-of-contract as well.

Moor earned $270,500 in 2015 according to the MLS Players Union. Burling earned $140,000.

The 2016 season is the first under the new MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Under the new CBA, players at least 28 years old with 8 years in MLS are eligible to test a sort-of limited free agency within the league. I say ‘limited' because players may only receive a raise of between 15 and 25% of their current salary. There will be no David Price $30 million a year bonanzas for players under this set of rules.

The Rapids are the ones that declined their option on Moor, while Burling is out of contract. That implies that Colorado hopes to resign Moor for less (pun entirely unintentional), while Burling may be looking for a pay raise.

The Rapids go into negotiations with Drew Moor knowing that, under free agency, he could command a maximum salary of $310,000. Burling's salary with a new team could be as high as $168,000; the Rapids need to match or exceed that number for Burling to stay.

Are there MLS teams out there that could use Moor or Burling's services at those prices? I think that's likely. Vancouver is out of contract with Pa Modu Kah and Stephen Beitashour. SKC dropped Seth Sinovic and Jalil Anibaba. The Seattle Sounders released three defenders. RSL dropped four. And there's still nine MLS teams yet to reveal who has been re-signed for 2016.

For starters, I think it's likely the Rapids can and will lock up Bobby Burling for 2016. The Rapids have too few sure-things on the back line to cast off a solid CB for a little over the median MLS salary, which was $109,000 in 2015. The 6'5" Burling started 22 games for the Rapids in 2015, and aside from a propensity to get carded often (9 yellows, 1 red), he was entirely dependable.

With Drew Moor, I think it's a lot less likely he comes back.

The main factor for Drew Moor is risk. He could be part of the first class of MLS free agents in history, and get scooped up by one of the many MLS teams defensive needs for the coming year. On the other hand, he could also watch as nobody ventures to make him an offer.

This is one of those Jerry Maguire moments, where an athlete needs a skilled agent to "show him the Quan." Drew's agent was probably on the phone to every MLS clubs on Thursday, trying to see if somebody was willing to spend lots for Moor (ok, that pun WAS intended). Moor is reportedly represented by Wasserman Media Group, which Forbes listed as the fifth-largest of all sports agency. These guys are very good at generating the Quan.

My prediction? Moor will still be a Rapid on Monday morning only if he got nineteen flat-out ‘no's from MLS clubs.

The other possibility is that Drew says: damn the money, I want to stay a Rapid. In the 21st century sports landscape, though, such loyalties are rare. And Drew may be leaving around $100K on the table to stay in Commerce City. I think it's unlikely.

Sad to say, but I think the odds on Drew Moor in burgundy in 2016 are pretty long. I'll be the first to cheer if he's re- signed. But I'll also be mighty surprised.