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Tosaint Ricketts & Clint Irwin rewarded for strong seasons

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Two valuable additions to the Toronto FC squad in 2016 have signed new deals.

MLS: Conference Semifinals-New York City at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

As you will have heard by now, Tosaint Ricketts and Clint Irwin have both signed new contracts with Toronto FC.

That’s an unsurprising development given both players enjoyed strong seasons and were among the best-value deals on the Reds’ books in 2016. Ricketts’ base salary was the senior roster minimum of $63,000 and Irwin was also under six figures at $95,625, though bonuses boosted their guaranteed compensation up to $81,333 and $107,625 respectively.

It’s unlikely we’re talking about huge pay rises here - I would guess TFC are spending in the region of $100,000 extra in total - but it does count nevertheless as a little more of the club’s room under the salary cap eaten away.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

That said, they may only have one more player to add this winter to the senior roster - an attacking midfielder. For those not up to speed on MLS’ insane roster rules, teams can used targeted allocation money (TAM) to buy down a contract that exceeds the maximum salary for a non-designated player.

For example: the maximum salary for a non-DP in 2017 is $480,625, but TFC are able to sign a player for, say, $1 million a year by using TAM to pay for the $519,375 that goes above that maximum figure, and more if they so wish.

Those numbers are just for illustrative purposes - it’s impossible to tell just how much TAM they have collected - but the point is that Toronto seem to plan to use it to pay for this player and, if so, we know his cap charge is likely to be around the maximum.

MLS: MLS Cup Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If all the other signings they make - such as promoting some young players and signing a prospect like Jordan McCrary, who is on trial, to be the backup right-back - fit on the supplemental and reserve roster, they don’t count against the salary cap. That means that whatever cap space is left over once $480,625 is subtracted is excess, and can be used for new contracts such as Ricketts’ and Irwin’s.

Ideally, of course, every team would like to have a bit of room in which to manoeuvre when it comes to midseason deals, such as the ones TFC struck for Ricketts and Armando Cooper. They are, however, entering the 2017 season with a much more complete roster than this time last year, and if all goes to plan further additions may not be as necessary.