Soccer fans crave transparency, and they received just that on Thursday. Per Major League Soccer's Players Union, 2016 salary information is now available to the public, and there's plenty to unpack for the New England Revolution.
Courtesy of 27 rostered players, the Revs are shelling out $5,564,046.87 in base salary, with myriad mechanisms contributing to that sum. It's important to note that 2015's Collective Bargaining Agreement brought about an increased salary cap ($3,660,000) and Targeted Allocation Money now plays a role in roster construction. Front offices can also get creative with Designated Player contracts, Homegrown Player tags and Generation adidas deals.
Without further ado, The Bent Musket has a complete breakdown of the numbers.
First off, let's take a comparative look at how much New England is spending in terms of base salary. The below players are categorized as senior players, supplemental players and reserve players depending on a slew of variables. Each designation carries a different set of criteria for how it influences the salary cap.
MLS players also make money through guaranteed compensation. Moreover, their paycheck does not solely come from base salary, and that trend is reflected in New England's roster. Revolution players will make a combined $5,980,837.58 in guaranteed compensation in 2016.
Outside of individual salaries, the front office decides which positions deserve the biggest contracts. For starters, strikers earn a combined base salary of $1,790,437.54, or roughly 32 percent of the total.
Next, midfielders rake in a combined base salary of $2,291,500.04, or nearly 42 percent of the total.
New England's defensive group has a top-heavy distribution. They earn a combined base salary of $1,207,004, or nearly 22 percent of the total.
Lastly, the goalkeepers are allocated a meager sum. They earn a combined base salary of $275,105.29, or nearly five percent of the total.
The Big Earners
This category is understandably riddled with Designated Players and high-profile players. Striker Kei Kamara, who was recently acquired via trade with Columbus Crew SC, leads the contingent with a base salary of $1,000,000. He scored 22 goals a year ago, and already has five goals in 10 games this year.
New England's other two DPs – midfielder Xavier Kouassi and center back Jose Goncalves – earn base salaries of $840,000 and $450,000, respectively. Kouassi was signed in the offseason from FC Sion of the Swiss Super League and consequently tore his ACL, but expects to play before the year's end. Meanwhile, Goncalves is in the midst of his fourth year as a Rev and often serves as the team's captain.
Two Revs with U.S. national team experience – midfielder Lee Nguyen and forward Juan Agudelo – are respectively being paid $500,000 and $425,000 in base salary. Nguyen was a finalist for MLS MVP in 2014, while Agudelo returned to New England a year ago after struggling to find playing time in Europe.
The Mid-Range Guys
New England has secured arguably one of the league's best young cores, many of whom surface here.
Midfielder Gershon Koffie, who was acquired in the offseason from the Vancouver Whitecaps, earns a base salary of $250,000. The Ghanian has appeared in nearly 150 MLS matches, all before the age of 24. Forward Teal Bunbury makes a base salary of $205,000, and midfielder Kelyn Rowe makes a base salary of $160,000. The former is a 26-year-old with with 28 career goals, while the latter is a 24-year-old with 49 career points.
Andrew Farrell, who is a four-year starter along the backline, makes a base salary of $148,500. Diego Fagundez, a 21-year-old Homegrown Player with 31 goals and 20 assists to his name, earns a base salary of $145,000.
While New England's front office has splurged on some players, there still are a couple diamonds in the rough. For starters, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth is earning a base salary of $154,375. He has been in MLS since 2009, started 116 games for the Revs and pitched 32 shutouts.
Meanwhile, left back Chris Tierney only makes a base salary of $133,333.33. The 30-year-old has arguably the best left foot in MLS, and was named an All-Star in 2015. The ever-dependable Scott Caldwell, who signed in 2012 as a Homegrown Player, only earns a base salary of $100,000. Something has to give there, right?
Another steal is London Woodberry. The right back offers depth across the backline, has started five games in 2016 and only makes $63,000. The final bargain is striker Femi Hollinger-Janzen, as the super-sub's base salary of $51,500.04 is four cents above the league minimum.
Last Year vs. This Year
Another intriguing way to analyze this information is by seeing who has received pay cuts or pay raises.
2015's most recent data was provided on September 22, while rookies and international signings (Kouassi and Samba) have no previous value available. For clarity purposes, the intricacies have been divided into two charts.
Notable increases include Caldwell, Davies, Kamara and Nguyen. Interestingly, Kobayashi, Neumann and Watson all took pay cuts.
The Broader Picture
While fans are bound to form their own opinions, the fact remains that the Revs have the 12th largest budget in MLS. The below infographic, which was produced by Steve Fenn for StatHunting.com, illustrates league-wide disparities.
All things considered, what are your thoughts on New England's salaries for the 2016 season? Is there anyone making too much? Should someone be making more? Feel free to discuss below!