We’ve got an update! The MLS Players Union has released the second part of their bi-annual Salary Survey’s and it offers a quick glimpse at the newest players to join the Galaxy since the last update. This includes Jonathan dos Santos, Pele van Anholt, and the Galaxy’s newest signing, Michael Ciani.
Just a quick note: I’ve personally spoken to many people — front office executives, players, and agents — and their usual response is “it’s pretty close.” So with that as our guide, let’s take look at the updated 2017 player salaries.
The complete list for the entire league can be found here:
You will see us talking about Base Salaries and Guaranteed Salaries. According to the MLS Players Union, they are defined like this:
The annual average guaranteed compensation 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. For example, if a player has a base salary of $50,000, has a two-year contract with two one-year options and received a $10,000 bonus when he signed, his average annual guaranteed compensation would be $52,500 (base salary plus signing bonus ($10,000), with the signing bonus divided by the number of years covered by the contract (4)). The average annual guaranteed compensation number also includes any annual marketing bonus to be received in the current year and any agent’s fees 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.
For the purposes of our review, we’ll stick mostly with Base Salaries. However, we may include some Guaranteed Compensation numbers when we think they’re relevant.
TOP 8 HIGHEST PAID LA GALAXY PLAYERS
Giovani dos Santos (DP) $3,750,000 ($5,500,000 Guaranteed)
Jonathan dos Santos (DP) $2,000,000 ($2,000,000 Guaranteed)
Jermaine Jones (TAM) $600,000 ($722,500 Guaranteed)
Michael Ciani* $600,000 ($620,000 Guaranteed)
Gyasi Zardes (TAM) $577,500 (577,500 Guaranteed)
Ashley Cole $350,000 ($377,625 Guaranteed)
Jack McInerney** $325,000 ($325,000 Guaranteed)
*Michael Ciani is on a yearly Salary of $600,000. But because he joined with just seven games left, the Galaxy will not need to use TAM on him until the next season. By rule, MLS Clubs must announce if a player was signed using TAM and that announcement did not accompany his signing.
**Jack McInerney is on an MLS Contract. The Galaxy are not responsible for his entire salary.
THREE NEW ADDITIONS AND SOME CRAZY NUMBERS
The update to the salary roster for the Galaxy is based entirely on the addition of three new players. Jonathan dos Santos, Pele van Anholt, and Michael Ciani.
JONATHAN DOS SANTOS
Jonathan dos Santos is making what Kevin Baxter and myself originally reported. We were told around $2 million and we assumed it would be around $2.1 – $2.2 million. So at even less, Jonathan dos Santos may actually be a bargain at his Salary number. The questions around whether or not he was the player the club needed at that time, remain. But in terms of salary, he was a reasonable signing for the money.
But will he be happy making $3.5 million less than his brother, Giovani dos Santos? Despite most people pegging Jonathan dos Santos as the better overall player? I’d anticipate a salary raise as his contract progresses and it’s probably already built into his deal. His salary will go up.
The biggest surprise isn’t Jonathan dos Santos’ reasonable salary, though. Instead, it’s Jelle Van Damme’s replacement, 33-year old Michael Ciani.
Ciani was signed for the Galaxy’s last nine games – which he didn’t and won’t play all of – and will be receiving an annual salary of $620,000 (guaranteed). Obviously, he’ll only be receiving a portion of that for the remainder of this season — approximately $18,235 per game or $164,118 for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Currently, we’re going with the assumption that Ciani is signed through the 2018 season so the $620,000 salary will come into play next year, and he will be receiving Targeted Allocation Money as a result of that.
If you’re looking for a comparison, Jelle Van Damme made $600,000 ($662,500 guaranteed). But will Ciani have the same impact as Van Damme? The early results aren’t promising. But he’s also coming off a long offseason – since May of 2017 – and is more in preseason form than in game shape.
Time will tell on Ciani, but he’ll need to seriously impress for the salary he’s drawing.
PELE VAN ANHOLT
Finally, we get to Pele van Anholt. He was signed as a replacement for Robbie Rogers and we knew that his salary would be equal to or less than Rogers to be in accordance with MLS rules. His salary comes in at $216,000 which is slightly less than Rogers $225,000.
The real question with Van Anholt is whether or not he’s going to be around for the 2018 season. His torn ACL and MCL means he won’t be ready for the start of the 2018 season. A similar situation to Rogers in 2017.
Van Anholt is under a six-month contract with a club option for 2018. But because of his injury, it would be surprising if the Galaxy were to simply exercise the contract and hope he can fully recover. A better idea would be to
A better idea would be to let the contract expire and take a look at van Anholt when he’s recovered. The money isn’t significant, but the roster spot may be important.
OFFSEASON SHOPPING PROBLEMS
The Galaxy are going to be shopping in the offseason and one would imagine that almost no current player is safe on this roster. They are looking for a right back, a center back, a goalkeeper, and a striker. That’s a complete rebuild of the defensive unit and it’s about finally finding the striker they should have signed in the summer transfer window.
The offseason is going to be busy and the club should already have a good idea of which direction they are going. But signing players isn’t going to be as easy as it used to be.
The Galaxy brand has taken a significant knock and players both within the organization and outside the organization are leary of the current front office’s makeup. That may mean people don’t want to re-sign with the club and players outside might not want to come to the club. It’s a big issue.
The addition of Sigi Schmid and Dominic Kinnear helps this situation, greatly. But it’s still a question of who has the loudest voice in a room that has, so far, failed to make anyone feel confident in their choices or target.
Let’s compare the year over year base salaries for the Galaxy.
2015 Total Base Salary $18,965,008
2016 Total Base Salary $16,110,500
2017 Total Base Salary $11,824,666
The Galaxy would definitely tell you they are spending smarter but in terms of the last three years, they are definitely in cost-cutting mode. The increase in salary over the year is really just about signing a third designated player — Van Damme was really just a placeholder when he was named as the club’s third DP.
So the increase from $9,833,666 at the first salary release to the $11,824,666 is really just about the $2 million salary to Jonathan dos Santos. Simple as that.
Van Anholt was a slightly less expensive defender in Rogers replacement and Ciani is Van Damme’s replacement. Save for a few dollars here or there, the Galaxy added a DP and they’re overall base salary went up. But you can see it’s a steep decline over the last three years and that’s unlikely to change dramatically next year.
However, there are some rumors that could see an increase in both the amount of Targeted Allocation Money and the ceiling on TAM. The amount of TAM could increase by as much as $2 million and the ceiling could be raised from under $1 million to under $2 million.
That could put Romain Alessandrini in a position to be bought-down and then the Galaxy would have the chance to sign another designated player. That’s the best case scenario, but so far, it’s just rumors.