Wrist and Reverend
The Washington Post's Steve Goff is reporting the details of the resignings of Ben Olsen and Josh Gros. Gross gets around $85K, and Olsen just above $165K. I'd like to say whether these dollar figures make sense or not, but MLS's policy of not detailing salary situations means that it is very difficult to get any sense of what people really make. Goff also reports that Dema, even if resigning with DCU, may be shopped elsewhere.
The lack of salary information is probably one that can be overcome, but it would take significant effort. The most comprehensive resource I know of (and please let me know if you have something better) is from Soccer America here. This indicates that the $85K for Josh Gros puts him about right for an above average everyday starter... at least in 2004 terms. Ben's $165K is definately on the upper-end of the MLS pay scale, something around the Frankie Hedjuk level. If I had to estimate whether these are the right value from DCU's perspective, I would say that the Gros deal seems about right, and that Ben has probably reached his ceiling. Any more and we'd certainly be overpaying for the reverend, at least in MLS terms. One of the weird things is knowing that I can't say "This is what these people are worth" since the MLS market is fairly cash-poor compared to the Premiership, or the NHL for that matter. But by MLS standards, these dollar figures seem to be about right. I might say the Ben is a bit high, but intangibles are also valuable.
Now, as for dealing Dema... Based on the Soccer America figures and Goff's reporting, his salary was somewhere around the $175K range. Let's assume he resigns for less, say, 15% off the top. That's still around $150K, for a player that works very hard but whose skillset is starting the unfair descent of age. He is best suited as a role-player on a certain type of team, a team that can use a workhorse, but playing him on the wing is becoming more and more of a liability. So why not trade him now? I doubt few teams would be willing to take him on at the $175K level, and DCU doesn't want to have to foot $25K in expenses (which could go to a developmental prospect) if it doesn't have to. So the resigning of Dema to a lower contract, then dealing him makes sense if DCU believes they have options at the wing. Either by dealing Dema for a player that can take the wing, or getting draft picks that will help address the need. Tough to see right now, but certainly names must be on a whiteboard somewhere.