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Important dates in the 2020 MLS offseason calendar & what they mean for the Rapids

A look ahead to what December could bring.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Following a hectic 2020 campaign, the Colorado Rapids have finally finished their season, which ended in disappointing fashion in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Despite this unfortunate end to the season, the Rapids progressed massively this year, by making the playoffs and finally reclaiming the Rocky Mountain Cup.

For the first time in years, the Rapids do not face an offseason that’ll be full of rebuilding, rather a minor retooling.

Here are some key dates to keep an eye on over the next month.

November 30: Deadline to submit contract extensions/exercise options

While this date has passed, at time of writing we are still waiting to see who the Rapids have re-signed, and who they’ve let move on.

Editor’s Note: I have confirmed that the club has submitted those decisions to the league. Now we (media, fans, etc.) are just waiting to hear about any roster changes.

December 13: Half-Day Trade Window

A trade window is open for half of the day on December 13. This window has seen big trades like Walker Zimmerman being moved to LAFC and Kei Kamara to New England in the past, but blockbuster moves don’t typically occur during this window. At the conclusion of the window, a roster freeze goes in place until the 2020 Expansion Draft.

December 15: 2020 Expansion Draft

New expansion side Austin FC will be entering the league and will select five players from existing MLS sides. The Rapids are not safe, but will be able to protect 12 players. Homegrowns and Generation Adidas under 25 are automatically protected.

I think the Rapids should protect:

  • Lalas Abubakar
  • Kellyn Acosta
  • Braian Galvan
  • Jonathan Lewis
  • Younes Namli
  • Jack Price
  • Keegan Rosenberry
  • Diego Rubio
  • Andre Shinyashiki
  • Auston Trusty
  • Nicolas Benezet

This leaves us with only a few major pieces left exposed—players who may not even be returning like William Yarbrough, Danny Wilson, and Nicolas Mezquida, while younger players like Jeremy Kelly and Abdul Rwatubyaye would be at risk as well.

December 16: Waivers Draft

Players who don’t meet the minimum requirements for free agency are included in this draft. The Rapids acquired midfielder Micheal Azira and defender Bobby Burling from this draft in past seasons, but typically very few players are selected in it.

December 16: Free Agency Opens

Last season, the Rapids added free agent Drew Moor, and this year’s free agent class is already proving to be one full of talent. Will the Rapids choose to sign anyone? Maybe Azira comes back home or maybe decorated MLS goal poacher CJ Sapong signs to provide depth up front. Players who are eligible for free agency are 24 years or older and have a minimum of five years of league experience.

December 17: Re-Entry Draft phase 1

Players available for the re-entry draft are at least 22 years old, have one year of league experience, and did not get a contract extension from their clubs. Players like Neck Deleon, Eric Miller, and Tommy McNamara have been selected in this draft before, so there is every chance the Rapids could pick up a decent depth piece this year.

December 22: Re-Entry Draft phase 2

Any players who were not selected or re-signed by their former clubs are available for phase 2 of the re-entry draft.

Following a successful 2020 season, the Rapids have a few positions to strengthen, and lots of dates to look forward to coming up this month. Who will leave and who would you like to see join the Burgundy Boys this winter?