FOXBORO, MA - APRIL 23: Rajko Lekic #10 of the New England Revolution throws his shirt into the stand after scoring the go ahead goal in the second half of the game against the Sporting Kansas City at Gillette Stadium on April 23, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
I know Major League Soccer Soccer-dot-com already ran a quick update about this in their new "Rumor Central" feature (which I kind of like, to be honest), but it's the kind of news that we should be reporting here. Trust me, if it weren't for the fact that I'm studying for my Civil Procedure exam and staring longingly at a bottle of whiskey, sleeping pills and a handgun I would have been on top of this the moment it came out.
Rajko Lekic has come out and told local Danish news site mja.dk (remember them?) that he has been offered a new contract. I don't think that comes as a surprise. As I wrote in a previous piece, declining the options on Rajko...wait, I didn't write that. I meant to, but I had to study for contracts. I could tell you all about consideration, though!
Anyways, I thought even when they declined the options on Lekic, Monsef Zerka, and Milton Caraglio that it certainly didn't spell the end of their time with the New England Revolution. The fact is, those are three of the highest-paid guys on the squad (according to the cap, in Milton's case). With Benny Feilhaber ostensibly locked up for at least another year (if memory serves, that's kinda what the modus operandi has been with players you can categorize as "can't-miss" in MLS recently) and the Shalrie Joseph and Matt Reis contract situations sorted, having about $835,000 in cap space locked up in a grand total of 42 appearances, 11 goals, and 2 assists wouldn't exactly be prudent. Especially when you're trying to rebuild from being one of the worst teams in the league. Therefore, you don't want to pick up their options and pay them the same or more - better to decline the options and attempt to renegotiate.
Luckily for us, "Psycho" Rajko actually seems pretty reasonable about it. It would appear he thought the writing was on the wall. In the same article, he states (terribly translated from Danish): "I must go down in salary, but it is really fair enough, because we had a miserable year, so the club will try to make it as cheaply as possible." The quote also ends with something about "soon to expect a clarification," which could be Rajko's words, the author's words, or random Google words, and could mean anything.
Rajko also went on to say that he hopes to stay here, and that he and his family really enjoy Boston. I can't fault him for that, I loved living in Boston when I did, and if I made as much money as he did I bet I would have stayed.
So basically, it looks like chances are good that Lekic will be coming back next year, and at a number lower than his $275k cap hit from 2011. As infuriating as he could be at times, I think we'll all agree that a healthy, confident, and focused Lekic leading the line in 2012 would be preferable to whatever else is currently an option in the squad.