When the Seattle Sounders announced that Clint Dempsey would return for the 2018 season, the front office said the midfielder accepted a significant pay cut from his 2017 rate of $3.89 million per year. How much his salary was reduced remained unknown until the MLS Players Association released its first 2018 salary guide Thursday.
Dempsey is now the second-highest earner on the team, guaranteed $1.65 million per year.
The decrease reflects the lowered expectations for the man who was once the league’s highest-paid player. Uruguayan playmaker Nicolás Lodeiro now owns the team’s top spot at $2.3 million per year and is the 11th highest-paid player in the league.
With Dempsey’s reduced salary and increased spending around the league, Seattle does not have a player among the top 10 MLS salaries for the first time since the Players Association began releasing salary data back in 2013.
Here are Seattle’s top 10 earners:
1) Nicolas Lodeiro — $2,302,500
2) Clint Dempsey — $1,650,000
3) Osvaldo Alonso — $1,141,667
4) Victor Rodriguez — $1,087,499
5) Roman Torres — $645,000
6) Kim Kee-hee — $632,004
7) Kelvin Leerdam — $575,000
8) Magnus Wolff Eikrem — $546,666
9) Will Bruin — $351,666
10) Gustav Svensson — $350,000
Five of Seattle’s top earners are defenders or holding midfielders, speaking to head coach Brian Schmetzer’s commitment to defense.
Keeper Stefan Frei and midfielder Cristian Roldan are two of the club’s best values. Frei will make $281,250 this season, while the 22-year-old Roldan is due just $191,000.
The Sounders are currently eighth in overall spending. But with general manager Garth Lagerwey promising to make an “eight-figure investment” in a designated player over the summer and the club aiming for another Targeted Allocation Money signing as well, Seattle may rise in the spending standings when the second salary report is released later in the year.