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Sporting KC Sign Besler, Espinoza, Zusi and Ilie to New Deals

Besler, Espinoza and Zusi were all on expiring contracts.

MLS: Sporting KC at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday Sporting Kansas City extended the contracts of four players, three of which were expected and one surprise. Everyone knew Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza were out of contract after the 2018 season and contract talks had been ongoing since the beginning of the year per Peter Vermes. What people may not have been aware of was that Ilie Sanchez was getting a new deal too.

Specifics are not yet available, all we know is that all the deals are “multi-year contracts.” Hopefully the years (and potential option years) will be made available, as they have in previous Sporting KC contracts in recent years.

The deals for Besler, Espinoza and Zusi come on the heels of the news that they were essentially not going to be true free agents after the season. We likely won’t know how much they are being paid until April 2019 when the MLS Players Association releases their semi-annual salary information. There is a second salary dump in September, but that will be 2018 wages, which we already know for all four players.

It’s quite possible pay cuts are on the table for Zusi, Espinoza and Besler, though no one would be surprised if Ilie got a well deserved raise. He is quite possibly the most important player on the field and hopefully his extension is large. The team already had an option for the 2019 season and with a “multi-year” extension, that has to at least put him through 2020.

We’ll have more on these signings in the coming days and weeks but we know for now the team isn’t being blown up after the 2018 season, win or lose. If the three “old” guys keep playing the way they have, re-signing them will look like a no brainer, even if some of the next couple of seasons are spent looking for their eventual replacements (if they aren’t on the roster already).

We’ll leave you with this quote from Ilie, that should make you feel confident about SKC as a team.

“I played in Europe and I have to say that what we have here – not just with the facilities, but also with the culture of the club – makes it a place to be. I think this league is one of the most attractive leagues in the world. Also, I want to say that I think on most everything, this club is above all the other organizations.”