After weeks of suspense, the Jermaine Jones drama concluded in surprising fashion as Major League Soccer used a blind draw to allocate the midfielder. Using a blind draw was an unprecedented move that has been called amateur by some, but I'm completely fine with the method, and that has little to do with Jones landing in New England.
The reason behind the blind draw was explained in depth on MLSSoccer.com's Extra Time Radio. Simon Borg enlightened that Jones, like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley before him, bypassed the allocation order because of his high salary. He went on to explain that the allocation order is only used when allocation money can have an effect on a player's salary. DeMarcus Beasley was subject to the allocation order because his salary didn't exceed a certain threshold.
Once it was determined that Jones wouldn't go through the allocation order, it was up to teams to decide if they wanted to make an offer for the German-American. The Chicago Fire and New England Revolution were the most vocal in regards to their pursuit of Jones. The pundits on Extra Time Radio explained that this was different than when Dempsey and Bradley entered the league because each player only garnered serious interest from one team. As a result, Dempey and Bradley were each assigned to the highest bidder without a blind draw being needed. With two teams interested in Jones, a new procedure was explored.
After both the Fire and Revolution agreed to the terms of the Jones deal, a blind draw was conducted on Sunday morning. The Revs won the lottery with the news being announced at halftime of the Timbers-Sounders game. The player has since traveled to New England, practiced with his new teammates and participated in press conference.
The blind draw isn't the ideal method to allot a player, but it is fair. If the league wants to promote parity, every team should have a fair shot at signing a player. With two teams wanting Jones, a draw in which each team has 50/50 odds of winning is completely acceptable.
My only major grip with the blind draw is that it was conducted in secrecy. With so many people interested in the fate of Jones, the draw should have been a public display. The league could have excited fans by promoting that the big decision would be made at halftime. Commissioner Don Garber could have then selected the name on live television. This would have lent legitimacy to the process and created a large media buzz.
Regardless, the blind draw happened and Jones has joined the Revolution. Is it the ideal mechanism in regards to player allocation? No. But as long as it was fair, I have no problem with it.