As we enter the offseason, there are reasons for Colorado Rapids faithful to salivate with optimism. With the salaries of the retiring Tim Howard and Shkelzen Gashi coming off the books, along with a few other players expected to depart, the Rapids are looking at having between $4-6 million available.
But not so fast. There are a few bumps in the road that are lurking. The expansion draft for Nashville and Inter Miami, the possible labor dispute with the end of the current CBA, and of course, we could shoot ourselves in the foot again with epic fail signings in the likeness of Stefan Aigner and Yannick Boli.
What about the long-expected signing of a Designated Player? Whom would we target? Well, let me throw a name out there that is possible, plausible, and will draw instant attention, both positive and otherwise: Jozy Altidore. Yes, THAT Jozy Altidore.
Now before some of you order the guys with the white coats to finally have me committed, let me share my logic. Jozy is in a contract that pays a base salary of almost $4.9 million with a guaranteed $6.3 million salary. Toronto FC is looking to move in a different direction from Jozy (and probably Michael Bradley) after the breakup of the partnership with Sebastian Giovinco that brought them the MLS Cup in 2017. Altidore’s monster salary is a liability to TFC, and Greg Vanney needs to bring new blood to the Reds. It is well-rumored that Jozy and Robin Fraser are friends from their time in Toronto. I can envision an offense in Colorado with Altidore and Kei Kamara up top and Niki Jackson and Andre Shinyashiki as subs. Jonathan Lewis and Sam Nicholson on the wings with Kellyn Acosta and Jack Price in central midfield, then Sam Vines, Lalas Abubakar (assuming we get him from Columbus), Abdul Rwatubyaye, and Keegan Rosenberry in front of Irwin. Just imagine that!
But how could we afford Jozy’s demanded salary of at least $3.5 million? Enter TransAmerica.
If TransAmerica is looking to renew their sponsorship with the Rapids, they will want a well-known player to wear a Rapids jersey with TransAmerica splashed across the front. After Tim Howard, who is the most well-known American player?
Jozy is still the #1 striker for the USMNT, so it’s fair to say that if we sign Jozy and TransAmerica renews, their money would contribute to bringing him to the Mile High City. Jozy would certainly bring a new energy to the club just as Jermaine Jones did along with Howard in 2016, so jersey sales will certainly spike. Jozy is only 29 (he turns 30 in November), so, while by European football standards he’s a bit older, he’s certainly not past his prime. And imagine him wreaking havoc up top with Kamara. That would be a partnership of nightmarish proportions for opponents!
While it has been a tough year in Rapids Land, perhaps we could finally be looking at a long-term turnaround. Or another miserable failure which would certainly result in the termination of Padraig Smith. But to quote one of my favorite movie lines from “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”: “Before the night is out we will have a wedding or a hanging. Either way, should be a lot of fun!”