MLS List of “Free Agents” Has a Familiar Look
The final list of MLS players eligible for the new re-entry draft was released today, and many of the more famous players were the same ones on the expansion draft list from last month’s draft. As a reminder, players with a certain amount of service time with a club who have had their option declined without a bona fide offer are eligible for the re-entry draft. This process was a concession to the player’s union to allow players more freedom of movement outside their contracts. To see a breakdown of the re-entry process, see here. The draft will take place over the phone on December 8 beginning at 2 PM, and the draft order is by regular season record (worst to first) with the expansion teams picking last; hence D.C. United will have the first pick. A second round will take place a week after the first round.
The catch in the rules is that any player taken in the first round of the draft must agree to pick up a player’s option from their previous club or make a bona fide offer, which would cost roughly the same as the player’s previous contract. However, players taken in the second round can negotiate a new contract. My hunch is that many teams will pass on players in the first round for fear of being saddled with their contracts, and the December 15 second round will be much more active.
You can see the entire list of players here, but some names do stand out. Jimmy Conrad, who I suspect is probably the first pick in this draft, was on the list. Other high-profile players include New York Red Bulls Juan Pablo Angel, MLS second leading all-time scorer Jeff Cunningham, Galaxy defenders Kema Kovalenko and Jovan Kirovski, Columbus star Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Sporting KC’s Josh Wolff, and Philadelphia’s Fred.
Who do you think DC United will take first? And how many of the big names will still be around on December 15?