Toronto FC has rewarded their homegrown left back with a new contract that will see him remain with the club for years to come. With the new deal Ashtone Morgan becomes the first academy graduate at the club to sign a second deal and the first of those players to make more than the league minimum.
As with all MLS deals there have been no terms released other than to say that the player has signed to a long term deal. We will be left to speculate on how much the Canadian international is actually making until details eventually leak out, or at the latest sometime in the fall when the union releases their new salary list. On the last list Morgan was making around $44,000 so it is safe to assume that he has gotten a decent raise from that figure.
The question of the day seems to be if Morgan will now count against the teams salary cap. Previously, his contract was expempt from a cap hit because he had signed his first deal with the club under the "Homegrown Player" rules that are similar to Generation Adidas and allow the club to sign players from their academy without taking up room on the cap. The published MLS rules only mention the players first contract under that section though so it is hard to say with any certainty what happens when they sign their second deal. The assumption is that players would still be considered as home grown and not count against the cap. At DC United, it seems that both Bill Hamid and Andy Najar have signed second professional deals and remain off budget so that is the best we have to go at this point.
Considering that Paul Mariner said he was struggling to find a better leftback in MLS than the 21 year old (yes that is probably a bit on the hyperbolic side, given the defensive frailties on display at times last night) it is a good move by the club to lock the player up long term. Morgan will continue to be a trail blazer for other young players who can see him as the first academy grad to lock up a spot in the first team, the first to cap for the National team, and now the first to start making good money in the MLS.
The club's release can be found here