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Rapids roster moves create $2 million in cap space

Colorado’s recent roster cutdown leaves GM Padraig Smith a lot of room to make moves in the offseason.

International Champions Cup 2017 - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

(NOTE: This article was updated on December 8 to account for MLS’ announced of an increase of $2.8 million in TAM for 2018).

The Rapids made seven roster moves on Monday. Along with the retirement of striker Kevin Doyle, the player departures altogether have relieved Colorado of over $2 million in dedicated salary that they now have to play with going into the offseason.

Add to that amount an expected increase in the MLS salary cap for 2018, plus increases in General and Targeted Allocation Money, also known as GAM and TAM, and the Rapids are going into their offseason roster building with around $2.9 million with around $5.7 million (UPDATED: MLS announced on December 8th that the league will have a total TAM allocation of $4.0 million). In addition, the team has one open slot for a Designated Player, and two open international slots.

With that money, the Rapids front office does have a fair amount of roster construction ahead of them. The team’s most glaring needs are at left back, central midfield, and striker since the team lost starting players at all three positions. Colorado will also need additional players or upgrades on the wing; they will need a backup fullback or two; and they need a third string goalkeeper.

The Rapids current roster, MLS’ cap, DP, TAM and GAM rules, and a whole bunch of back-of-the-envelope math are down below. Let the roster building, or at least the roster dreaming, begin.

Colorado Rapids Current Roster as of November 28, 2017

Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard [DP], Zac MacMath.

Defenders (5): Mike da Fonte, Kortne Ford [HG], Eric Miller, Axel Sjoberg, Jared Watts.

Midfielders (8): Micheal Azira, Johan Blomberg [INT’L], Nana Boateng [INT’L], Shkelzen Gashi [INT’L, DP], Marlon Hairston, Sam Hamilton, Ricardo Perez [HG], Dillon Serna [HG].

Forwards (3): Stefan Aigner [INT’L], Dominique Badji [INT’L], Caleb Calvert [HG]


18 players, 12 slots available

5 International players, 2 slots available*

4 Homegrown players

Players released/retired as of November 27:

John Berner ($66,150), Bobby Burling ($126,000), Joshua Gatt ($193,508), Luis Gil ($144,000), Alan Gordon ($180,000), Mohammed Saeid ($170,000), Mekeil Williams ($115,000), Kevin Doyle ($1,045,000)

Rapids Roster and Salary Data as of November 28, 2017

Name 2017 Salary Effective Cap Charge
Name 2017 Salary Effective Cap Charge
Tim Howard 2,475,000 505,625
Zac MacMath 150,000 150,000
Mike da Fonte 65,004 65,004
Kortne Ford 76,996 0 [HG]
Eric Miller 86,554 86,554
Axel Sjoberg 123,350 123,350
Jared Watts 75,000 75,000
Micheal Azira 116,625 116,625
Johan Blomberg ? ?
Nana Boateng 341,246 341,246
Shkëlzen Gashi 1,668,750 505,625
Marlon Hairston 110,004 110,004
Sam Hamilton 65,004 65,004
Ricardo Perez 54,254 0 [HG]
Dillon Serna 85,600 0 [HG]
Stefan Aigner ? ?
Dominique Badji 65,000 65,000
Caleb Calvert 107,500 0 [HG]
Total: 5,665,887 2,209,037

MLS Roster Math

DP Roster Charge in 2016: $457,500**

DP Roster Charge in 2017: $480,625, 5.2% increase over 2016

Estimated DP Roster Charge in 2018: $505,625


MLS Salary Cap in 2016: $3,660,000

MLS Salary Cap in 2017: $3,845,000, 5.2% increase over 2016

Estimated 2018 Salary Cap: $4,038,000


General Allocation Money (GAM) 2017 rules:

$200,000 per team, plus $200,000 for missing the playoffs, plus $100,000 for qualification to CONCACAF Champions League 2018.

Estimated total GAM: $500,000


2017 Targeted Allocation Money (TAM): $1.2 million

Estimated TAM for 2018: $1.4 million***

Confirmed TAM for 2018: $4.0 million


Estimated total effective salary cap: $8,738,000

Rapids Effective Cap charge for current players: $ 2,209,037

Educated guess on combined salaries of Johan Blomberg & Stefan Aigner: $400,000

Estimated Amortized Transfer Fees affecting the budget: $350,000

Rapids Estimated Cap Space for 2018 Player Spending: $5,778,963****

— — — — — — — — — —

*The Rapids would normally have eight spots, but they traded one of their international slots to Atlanta until December 31, 2018. They also traded one to NYCFC which expires December 31, 2017, and also currently hold one slot from Minnesota United, which reverts to Minnesota on December 31, 2017. That’s all according to this Wikipedia page. Hope that’s clear.

** All salary and cap data based on MLS Roster Rules and Regulations for 2017.

*** This is based on random guessing, consulting my Magic Eight ball, and the latest wind patterns. Also, since it was $800,000 the year before it seems logical and it feels right.

**** This number was updated on December 8 to reflect the leagues announcement regarding TAM allocation.