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MLS and Players Association Agree to New 5-Year CBA

Early indications make this new deal seem like a big win for players.

MLS: Charlotte Fan Fest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

For those that were unaware, MLS and the MLS Players Association have been working for most of the offseason towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). It appears that both sides have agreed to a new deal, pending ratification from the players and the league Board of Governors.

The highlights appear to be major wins for the players. Free Agency will now be granted to any player over the age of 24 with 5 years of service in the league and no restrictions on the number of free agents a team can sign.

Before this agreement, teams were capped at two free agents (for the New England Revolution that was Kelyn Rowe and Seth Sinovic who were signed this offseason), and players were eligible at the age of 28 and after 10 years of service though I could be wrong. Ideally that reduces the FA requirements almost in half, which will increase player movement. There are also increases to the minimum salary for both the senior and reserve rosters.

Additionally, there will be changes to how Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) works, as the players have pushed for increased salary cap numbers and few restrictions on the money that can be spent towards the cap. I will let far smarter people go into all of that, but checking out the graphic above, it would seem that a lot more money can go to existing players within the league and not just be used to get new players signed and into the league.

Also, one of the major sticking points for teams have been travel. The lack of chartered flights in MLS has been a sore spot for many of the players because a poor travel schedule affects recovery and training time. Under previous agreements, the maximum numbered of chartered “legs” (not round trips, but individual flights) was four. Now there will be a minimum number of flights that teams must use beginning in 2020 with 8 flights and increasing two flights a year to 16 in 2024. All playoff and CONCACAF Champions League matches will be mandatory chartered flights.

Overall everything here seems like a major win for the players as MLS enters into its 25th season. Play begins at the end of the month, with the Revolution season opener in Montreal on February 29th.