The Full 90

What will Sporting KC do with all this money?

If you read the reports of the private jet that flew Teal Bunbury to Phoenix this weekend for his 21st birthday, you know that Sporting Kansas City’s ownership group has a bit of cash to splash around.

But did you know that Sporting KC have shed over $1 million in base salary since last season ended? Gone are: Jimmy Conrad (2010 base salary: $232,750), Josh Wolff ($220,004), Zoltan Hercegfalvi ($168,000), Jack Jewsbury ($145,000), Sunil Chhetri ($100,008), Nikos Kounenakis ($70,000), and Jamar Beasley, Aaron Hohlbein and Jonathan Leathers (all $40,000).

That’s $1,055,762 off the books. (The total salary cap for an MLS team in 2011 is $2,675,000.)

The only on-the-record-books addition in 2011 is designated player Omar Bravo. (His total compensation is unknown, but he will count $335,000 against the salary cap. So, that’s just $720,762 to play with now.)

Less is known, however, about the other new signings, though each should be around the league minimum of $42,000 (the player’s association won’t release salary information until the summer at least): Luke Sassano is on a three-month contract with SKC with an option to extend if he stays healthy (he made $40,000 in ‘10); Homegrown player Kevin Ellis is likely making south of $40,000 (which is what New York’s Juan Agudelo made in ‘10); first-round draft pick C.J. Sapong won't break the bank (last year’s No. 9 pick, New England forward Zack Schilawski made $40,000 in base salary); and I have to assume that Supplemental Draft pick Mike Jones and trialist Scott Lorenz won’t make more than the ones listed above.

Not knowing the numbers precisely on the last five players, it’s impossible to do the math on what KC can afford. But, if all of them hover at the league minimum and only Bravo’s hefty chunk weighing down the ledger, it’s probably safe to assume Sporting KC has enough money to afford the ever-elusive “max-salary” attacking midfielder that both Peter Vermes and Robb Heineman have talked about. Probably some other players too.

I’m not an economics major, but it seems to me that the team has some cap room and could be players on the trade/transfer market over the next few weeks. Or they could simply stand pat for now, give some of the trialists they’ve got in camp (like, say, Julio Cesar Santos Correa) a decent little pile of money and make a bigger splash (like, say, a second designated player over the summer window?).

The addition of allocation money...

It’s very sad that Jewsbury has left. He was a fan favorite and will leave a gaping hole on the bench. He won’t, however, leave a gaping hole in the team’s wallet. Quite the opposite.

In return for Jewsbury, KC shed a $145,000 in salary and got an unknown amount of allocation money in return from Portland.

You may ask yourself: What can allocation money buy? Well, it’s money that does not count toward a teams’ salary cap and, according to MLS, it can be used:

• To sign players new to MLS (that is, a player who did not play in MLS during the previous season).

• To re-sign an existing MLS player, subject to League approval.

• To “buy-down” a player’s salary budget charge below the League maximum of $335,000.

• In connection with the exercise of an option to purchase a player’s rights or the extension of a player’s contract for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately prior year.

The first and third rule could come in rather handy if the team were looking to procure a max-salary player, don’t you think? (The fourth rule is complete gibberish though.)

What do you think KC could/should/will do with the money they have?