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Toronto FC Salaries and Roster Rules: An Investigation

After the MLSPA released players’ salaries, how much money does TFC have to spend in the summer transfer window?

Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Welcome to the MLSPA salary guide, where we have to rely on the player’s union to figure out roughly how much compensation each player receives from the league. If you want to take a look for yourself, especially at other players in the league, here’s the link: MLSPA Salary Guide. (Xherdan Shaqiri is making $8,153,000!)

Instead, I’ll be looking at Toronto FC’s roster, and what this means for the rapidly-approaching Summer Transfer Window.

Here’s some information from the MLSPA website about salaries:


“The 2022 Salary Guide contains salary information for all MLS players under contract as of April 15th, 2022. In the Guide, player salaries are broken down into two numbers:

  1. Current Annualized Base Salary
  2. Annualized Average Guaranteed Compensation

The Annual Average Guaranteed Compensation (Guaranteed Comp) number includes a player’s base salary and all signing and guaranteed bonuses annualized over the term of the player’s contract, including option years.

The Average Annual Guaranteed Compensation figure also includes any marketing bonus and any agent’s fees, both annualized over the term of the contract. The Average Annual Guaranteed Compensation figure does not include Performance Bonuses because there is no guarantee that the player will hit those bonuses. These figures include compensation from each player’s contract with MLS. They do not include any compensation from any contracts with individual teams or their affiliates.” [i]


A couple of important things to note:

1) All player contracts are through MLS, not individual teams. Toronto FC doesn’t actually own any player contracts.

2) Toronto FC can have separate contracts with players for things like sponsorship deals, appearance fees, and performance bonuses.

3) Unless shared by the clubs and/or players, we rarely find out the details of the contracts, like length of deals and bonuses.

Some numbers to consider:

Salary Cap: $4,900,000

DP Charge against cap: $612,500 ($306,250 Mid-season DP signing, i.e. Insigne)

Minimum Senior Salary: $84,000

Minimum Reserve Salary: $65,500


Let’s look at Toronto’s current salary situation:

Note: This list does not include Themi Antonoglou, as he was signed after April 15th. Kobe Franklin, Paul Rothrock, and Steffen Yeates signed short-term contracts and are not rostered players on the senior team.

Goalkeepers

  • Alex Bono - $557,00
  • Greg Ranjjtsingh - $89,167
  • Quentin Westberg - $313,583

Defenders

  • Auro Jr. – $428,750
  • Kadin Chung – $70,631
  • Lukas MacNaughton - $86,100
  • Chris Mavinga - $1,037,500
  • Shane O’Neill - $358,000
  • Luca Petrasso - $65,500
  • Carlos Salcedo - $2,351,000
  • Luke Singh - $91,966

Midfielders

  • Ifunanyachi Achara - $84,000
  • Michael Bradley - $1,500,000
  • Deandre Kerr - $70,819
  • Noble Okello - $126,815
  • Jonathan Osorio - $1,026,250
  • Ralph Priso - $89,195
  • Alejandro Pozuelo – 4,693,000
  • Jacob Shaffelburg - $136,500
  • Kosi Thompson - $70,760

Forwards

  • Ayo Akinola - $671,875
  • Jesus Jimenez - $934,927
  • Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty - $136,586
  • Jayden Nelson – $136,586
  • Jordan Perruzza - $86,500

For those who are mathematically astute, you’ll notice that TFC’s total salary is way over the Salary Cap at around $9.4 million. This number is not accurate for a few reasons:

1) Only the 20 players on the senior roster count against this salary budget. Players on the supplemental roster do not count against the salary budget, this is mostly homegrown players. [ii] In Toronto FC’s case, there are only 13 players on the senior roster.

2) A more accurate number with this rule in play is $8.3 million, which is still not close to the salary cap

3) That’s before Toronto FC can use the seemingly-magical and often confusing GAM and TAM rules.


GAM/TAM

The General Allocation Money (GAM) and Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) rules are by far the most confusing of the roster rules in MLS. I’m not going to get into the minutiae of the rules. Basically, these roster rules allow teams to sign more players by buying down their salary to fit under the salary cap.

GAM

TFC started off 2022 with $1,625,000 in GAM, which is a standard amount across MLS. Teams can add GAM through:

  • Transfer fees for a player leaving MLS
  • Trading players for GAM
  • Not making the playoffs the previous year
  • Money from MLS expansion

While we’re not sure how much the amount is, we can take an educated guess:

  • $1,625,000 base GAM
  • $400,000 in GAM from LA Galaxy in Mark(y) Delgado trade
  • $575,000 in GAM from NYRB for No. 2 in the allocation order and an International Roster Spot
  • $50,000 in GAM from FC Dallas in Dom Dwyer trade
  • $1,000,000 (estimated) from Richie Laryea transfer to Nottingham Forest

Toronto FC has at least $3.7 million in GAM to work with, as the amount awarded to the other 27 MLS clubs after Charlotte FC entered the league in a dilution fee was not disclosed by the league.

TAM

Toronto FC, just like every other team, started the season with $2,800,000. TAM can’t be traded. However, it can be used to pay down salaries against the salary cap. Toronto FC can only use TAM to pay down 50% of the player’s salary. TAM is useable in similar ways to GAM. One interesting use is to convert a DP to a non-DP. If this is done with TAM, a new DP must be signed simultaneously. This can only be done with non-max DPs. DPs earning more than $1,612,500 are considered max DPs and cannot be converted to a non-DP. [iii] What does that mean for TFC? Salcedo is going to remain a DP and cannot be bought down.

We’re to assume that TAM and GAM were used to pay down the salaries of Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Jesus Jimenez, Chris Mavinga, Alex Bono and Ayo Akinola. Also, we’re to assume that TFC is roster compliant and is near the $4.6 million salary cap mark (as Lorenzo Insigne will be classified as a mid-season DP player, and will account for a $306,250 salary cap hit). That means that Toronto is sitting on roughly $2.8 Million to go shopping for players. Without knowing how much teams were allocated in the Expansion Fee Dilution, we’re to assume that TFC has more than what I’ve calculated.

We never expected this roster to be completely finished by the start of the 2022 season and there are certainly more moves coming. Here’s where we fully expect Bob Bradley to make a number of signings to help this team.

Where do you think TFC should spend their money?


Special thanks to Columbus Crew’s Massive Report and Drew McDaniel (@mcdan93) for his article explaining MLS roster rules - “What are GAM and TAM in MLS, how are they used?

[i] https://www.mlssoccer.com/about/roster-rules-and-regulations

[ii] https://www.massivereport.com/2022/3/26/22947972/what-are-gam-and-tam-in-mls-how-are-they-used-columbus-crew

[iii] https://www.massivereport.com/2022/3/26/22947972/what-are-gam-and-tam-in-mls-how-are-they-used-columbus-crew