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2019 Sporting KC Salaries Released

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Sporting Kansas City have a new highest paid player.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Major League Soccer Players Association released the 2019 MLS salary data. There is lots of information to be pulled from this, but there are a few things that jumped out to us at The Blue Testament that we wanted to highlight for you. If you just need raw numbers, the data is at the bottom of this story.

First, Sporting Kansas City have a new highest paid player. Johnny Russell is now making a cool $1.7 million. That puts him just slightly ahead of Felipe Gutierrez who bizarrely only got a $0.04 raise.

In addition to Russell’s raise is a huge raise for Sporting KC’s arguably most valuable player, Ilie Sanchez. His guaranteed compensation climbed from $330,008.00 to $900,000.00. A well deserved raised from Ilie’s deal he signed in 2018. He is now the fifth highest paid player on the team.

Another thing that jumps out is how many players actually took pay cuts. Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Seth Sinovic and Benny Feilhaber all had their salaries decreased. Besler, Zusi and Espinoza took about $100,000 in pay cuts. Sinovic had a much smaller cut and Feilhaber’s contract signed with the Colorado Rapids was down $161,600.00. Also remember that Benny has Colorado subsidizing his contract as a part of his trade earlier this season and that Sporting are only on the hook for the first $250,000.00.

The cuts to all of the above players (outside of Sinovic) are due to a unique (read: stupid) rule from MLS that doesn’t allow players making above the max salary figure to get a raise in free agency unless it’s provided by the team they are on.

So essentially, those four players had zero leverage to go get a higher deal from another team. And honestly, as aging veterans, their pay cuts were modest and probably pretty fair. But SKC operate in a way that not every organization would have. The 2019 max salary budget charge is $530,000 so Sporting could have offered all those players deals at or just above that amount and they literally couldn’t have done better elsewhere in MLS.

A few other numbers to look at include Daniel Salloi nearly doubling his salary to $144,125.00. Last year that would have looked like he’s underpaid but he’s been a shell of himself so far in 2019. One has to imagine he’ll eventually get the ship righted.

A few numbers still look particularly bad. Fontas is now making north of $1,000,000 and he’s missed about half of the MLS games this year. For reference, Ike Opara only got a modest raise so far and he’s making just $367,917.00 up with Minnesota United. Fontas has plenty of time to show he’s worth this salary which is now the fourth highest on the team.

Rodney Wallace got a raise of nearly $60,000.00 and he’s making $360,000.00 in 2019. He is out for the season having only played 27 MLS minutes. That’s $13,333.33 per minute. Sign me up for that contract. This has to be in contention with the worst MLS free agent signing ever (along with another former SKC player Justin Mapp). At least Wallace was a backup and didn’t hurt as bad as Mapp. It seems unlikely Wallace will ever play for SKC again.

The Blue Testament will have much more coverage and analysis around the salary figures and of course an update towards the end of the season when the second salary set is released including summer signings. Below is all the 2019 SKC data put up against the 2018 data for comparison.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

2019 Sporting KC Salaries

First Name Last Name Position(s) Base Salary 2019 Guaranteed Compensation 2018 Guaranteed Compensation Year-Over-Year Change
First Name Last Name Position(s) Base Salary 2019 Guaranteed Compensation 2018 Guaranteed Compensation Year-Over-Year Change
Botond Barath D $250,000.00 $297,333.00 N/A N/A
Matt Besler D $574,998.00 $674,998.00 $783,250.00 ($108,252.00)
Gianluca Busio M-F $90,000.00 $90,000.00 $82,504.00 $7,496.00
Yohan Croizet M-F $700,008.00 $730,008.00 $680,004.00 $50,004.00
Eric Dick GK $70,250.00 $73,700.00 $57,949.58 $15,750.42
Roger Espinoza M $800,000.00 $800,000.00 $900,000.00 ($100,000.00)
Benny Feilhaber M $413,400.00 $463,400.00 $625,000.00 ($161,600.00)
Gerso Fernandes M-F $550,008.00 $550,008.00 $591,258.00 ($41,250.00)
Andreu Fontas D $1,050,000.00 $1,050,000.00 $999,999.96 $50,000.04
Tyler Freeman F $70,250.00 $82,750.00 N/A N/A
Felipe Gutierrez M $1,600,000.00 $1,650,000.00 $1,649,999.96 $0.04
Nicolas Hasler M $168,000.00 $183,667.00 $147,666.67 $36,000.33
Erik Hurtado F $175,000.00 $181,250.00 $156,250.00 $25,000.00
Wan Kuzain D-M $70,875.00 $70,875.00 $67,500.00 $3,375.00
Jaylin Lindsey D $75,000.00 $88,000.00 $67,504.00 $20,496.00
Jimmy Medranda M $155,004.00 $155,004.00 $140,004.00 $15,000.00
Tim Melia GK $325,008.00 $341,675.00 $316,666.67 $25,008.33
Krisztian Nemeth F $950,000.00 $1,063,667.00 $1,007,666.67 $56,000.33
Kelyn Rowe M-F $261,400.00 $326,400.00 $258,000.00 $68,400.00
Johnny Russell M-F $1,700,000.00 $1,700,000.00 $1,331,578.92 $368,421.08
Daniel Salloi M-F $130,000.00 $144,125.00 $81,625.00 $62,500.00
Ilie Sanchez D-M $900,000.00 $900,000.00 $330,008.00 $569,992.00
Seth Sinovic D $135,000.00 $143,000.00 $157,666.67 ($14,666.67)
Graham Smith D $57,225.00 $57,225.00 $54,500.04 $2,724.96
Rodney Wallace D-M $360,000.00 $360,000.00 $300,000.08 $59,999.92
Gedion Zelalem M $56,250.00 $77,917.00 N/A N/A
Adrian Zendejas GK $70,250.00 $70,250.00 $55,650.00 $14,600.00
Graham Zusi D $625,000.00 $688,333.00 $782,102.27 ($93,769.27)