In advance of Don Garber’s ‘State of the League’ address, Major League Soccer announced today that MLS teams would be allowed to spend an additional $2.8 million in TAM. That is in addition to the current limit of $1.2 million. MLS teams now have $4.0 million in TAM dollars to spend on players.
There it is. $2.8 million in discretionary TAM added for 2018 and 2019. This has huge implications. Huge. Up to $4m in total TAM for clubs. That's a second salary budget. The clubs that use it all will further separate from the pack. https://t.co/XnqN0jKGua— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) December 8, 2017
TAM funding over the past three years typically allows MLS teams to strengthen their ‘middle’ - improving the talent at roster spots 4 through 8. That money sometimes goes to bring in players from outside the league, and sometimes is used to retain talented Americans who deserve a significant salary.
The Rapids, for instance, used TAM in 2016 in order to pay-down the roster cost of Kevin Doyle to below DP levels. That allowed the team to sign Shkelzen Gashi to a DP contract. The additional TAM funds might be similarly used to pay down the contract of Gashi in order to bring on a DP-level player. The Rapids already hold one unused DP spot after releasing young DP Juan Ramirez in July of this year.
As Sam Stejskal intimated, there is the potential that this new allowance for TAM will create a larger divide between the more affluent teams and the smaller market clubs. It depends on whether each MLS club chooses to use all of their TAM or not. It is conceivable that the deep pocketed teams in our top domestic league, like Atlanta, LA Galaxy, and NYCFC, will spend the max on their TAM and fill all of their DP slots, while penny-pinching clubs like Colorado and Columbus will try to make do while spending less.
For the specifics on the current standing of Rapids roster and cap space, click here.