The Philadelphia Union announced at 9 a.m. Wednesday to extend the contract option on 11 players from their 2017 roster, while also declining the contract option for another 11 players.
The Union picked up the options for Andre Blake, John McCarthy, Jake McGuire, Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis, Keegan Rosenberry, Warren Creavalle, Marcus Epps, Derrick Jones, Adam Najem and Fafa Picault for the 2018 season.
Eight players contracts were already guaranteed for next season, totaling 19 players under contract for 2018. Richie Marquez, Auston Trusty Josh Yaro, Alejandro Bedoya, Anthony Fontana, Haris Medunjanin, CJ Sapong and Jay Simpson were already set for the 2018 season.
The Union declined the contract option of many notable players such as Oguchi Onyewu, Giliano Wijnaldum, Roland Alberg, Maurice Edu, Fabian Herbers, Ilsinho, Charlie Davies, Aaron Jones, Ken Tribbet, Fabinho and Chris Pontius.
For any of these players to remain on the Union, they would have to reach a new agreement with the club.
If a new agreement cannot be reached, one of three MLS roster actions would result.
Alberg, Herbers, Ilsinho, A. Jones, Onyewu, Tribbet and Wijnaldum are eligible for the 2017 MLS Waiver draft.
Davies, Edu and Fabinho are eligible for the 2017 Re-Entry Process. Chris Pontius is eligible for MLS Free Agency or the Re-Entry Process.
What does this mean:
These 11 players had their contract options declined, but aren’t out of the picture just yet.
All this decision means as of now is that The Union do not want the current contract these players are under.
For someone like Ilsinho or Maurice Edu, who are on large contracts, it’s likely the case that the team was to lower each players wage. Edu is on a $750,0o0 base salary while Ilsinho has a $470,000 base salary, both have options for game and performance bonuses. Edu has yet to play a game in 2017 and 2016, and his play time is likely the largest factor in the team wanting to renegotiate his salary.
Meanwhile, for players like Aaron Jones and Ken Tribbet, it seems unlikely the team is bound to take up a new contract. Both players are on low salaries (53,000 and 65,000) so the team might try to free up roster space to accommodate new players.
Players like Roland Alberg and Giliano Wijnaldum are likely to return to Europe. Alberg to CSKA Sofia is all but finished, with Wijnaldum also likely to head to the exit door.
With both Fabinho and Wijnaldum out of contract, the team would be without a left back. It wouldn’t be surprising if The Union decided to renegotiate with one of these players, under the premise that one would lock down the starting role.
Herbers and Pontius are an interesting case. It appeared the Union wanted both wingers to be important players in the team. Pontius’s goal output was largely disappointing after his 12 goals in 2016. Meanwhile Herbers failed to get any time due to injuries. With only two wingers under contract currently (Picault and Epps), the team might want to keep at least one of Herbers, Pontius and Ilsinho to provide depth.