Report: MLS to consider lowering maximum Designated Players

AP Photo/Michael Perez
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A report claims Major League Soccer is considering lower its maximum amount of Designated Players per team from three to two.

Right now, each team can select up to three players whose salaries do not count against the salary cap. Starting with David Beckham in 2007, the rule has been used to bring well over 100 players to the league.

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But some owners have been bashed inside the markets for not taking on the maximum number of stars.

For example, New England’s Claudio Dielna is the Revolution’s only DP and reportedly makes under $1 million per season. At least three teams (LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, Atlanta United) have three DPs all making more than that.

There are reasons to consider the move a rational one in the eventual destination of unspent money going to the rest of the roster. Problem is, according to The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, that’s almost certainly not going to happen with most teams:

Some owners … will claim it simply moves the spend from one area of the roster to another, from the top to the middle. But the league could just as easily keep improving the middle of the roster by adding more TAM and leaving everything else alone.

Some owners clearly don’t want to do that because they don’t want to spend in both places, and so they want to make sure other owners don’t spend in both places, either. They would effectively be tying an anchor to a league that is finally starting to ascend.

There’s a lot to that, and it treads a logical path. MLS is as watchable as ever, with more talent top-to-bottom than ever before, but the slope can get pretty slippery as the league continues its bid to be the best league in North America. Liga MX has consistently won meaningful CONCACAF competitions, but MLS has made some in-roads.

The idea of lowering DPs to two is not being well-received by some fans or soccer minds. This one made us laugh.