I have read a fair amount of criticism, here and other places, of Kris Boyd and Diego Chara as being not "designated player level" players, and thus not worthy of DP status/salary. But what I don't know is, what does that actually mean? All a DP slot is is a slot where you can pay a player outside the structure of the salary cap. I generally take that to mean while usually it's going to be for an elite-level player, it can also be for a player that isn't a "superstar" but that a team wants but could otherwise not afford.
This is a current list of MLS DP's. Only 15 teams even carry one, and only three teams carry the maximum of three designated players. Looking at the list, you definitely see some above-the-fold names like Beckham and Henry, but you also see the Barry Robsons and the Jerry Bengtsons of the world - certainly not bad players, but probably nobody's idea of a DP, at least in the "expensive really good player" sense.
So that's my question. What does a player have to be in your mind in order to be a Designated Player? What defines a good Designated Player? If the Timbers were to go after a third DP, what type of player would you like to see brought in?