Toronto FC are using targeted allocation money (TAM) to fit two recent signings under the salary cap, according to a list released by MLS today. Both Armando Cooper and Victor Vazquez are paid with TAM to keep their salaries below designated-player status.
The salary cap rules in MLS are confusing, so I’ll let them explain what exactly TAM is (from MLSsoccer.com):
Basically, if a player makes more than the maximum salary of $480,625 in a year, clubs can use TAM to pay their figure down to below that threshold and therefore not have to use up a DP slot. TFC already have three DPs, obviously (Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore), so in order to pay Vazquez and Cooper the money they demand, they needed to use TAM.
Back when Vazquez was signed in February it seemed pretty clear Toronto would be using TAM for him, but Cooper comes as more of a surprise. He was paid $180,000 last season according to MLS Players Union figures - though it was not specified whether or not that was pro-rated - but seems to have bagged a significant pay rise when his loan deal was made permanent in the offseason.
The TAM rule has been in effect in MLS since 2015, with the amount afforded to clubs increased significantly each year. In 2017, MLS teams are each entitled to $1.2 million in TAM.
The Reds further added to that number by picking up an extra $75,000 in TAM from the Chicago Fire in exchange for the 26th and 27th picks at the MLS SuperDraft in January.
Tim Bezbatchenko is no stranger to weird, salary-based deals either, making possibly the most MLS trade of all time on this day last year, sending some TAM and an international roster spot off to Seattle in exchange for general allocation money (an entirely different thing).