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Paulson: Portland Timbers Gain Salary Cap Space with Danny Mwanga

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It just goes to show you that, despite all the litany of rules, the sheer amount of analysts, and copious amounts of research that we and many other journalists perform, we still know very little about the inner workings of MLS and their oddball, convoluted structure. According to Portland Timbers owner, Merritt Paulson, we don't even really know the workings of the cap space that's supposedly affected by player salaries.

When the trade was announced yesterday, many fans were fairly excited about the opportunity that Danny Mwanga adds to the current Timbers squad. However, there was a bit of worry that he was too expensive for the team itself and that his greatly increased salary over Jorge Perlaza would be detrimental to the Timbers' own cap space which is already seemingly burdened with two designated players and a full MLS roster. According to Paulson (via Twitter) though, this isn't the case at all.

"We will take zero salary/cap hit on the Perlaza/Mwanga deal. In fact we gain space. example of how misleading public player salary info is."

This flies in the face of traditional logic because Perlaza's salary was listed as $100,000/$115,000 compared to Mwanga's $150,000/$241,250, according to the most recent Player Union filings. Logically that would eat into the salary cap that the Portland Timbers have.

According to my sources at SB Nation's MLS headquarters there could be a few different explanations for this:

  1. The most likely reason is the simple fact that player salaries don't necessarily represent a player's cap hit. A player's cap hit is unknown.
  2. Back room deals are always a mystery and just because something doesn't get announced, doesn't mean something didn't happen, in this case the Philadelphia Union might be keeping some cap on their books for the remainder of the season, similar to what we saw with Troy Perkins last year.
  3. Finally... magic.

We'll have a bit more on Danny Mwanga and how he fits in with the Portland Timbers later this week. For now though, I think we've all got a bit of homework to do.