According to SI.com’s Grant Wahl, Major League Soccer is set to give teams $400,000 of targeted allocation money each in addition to the $800,000 that had previously been announced last year. Since the cash-infusion comes in the form of TAM it will need to be used by teams to bring in or retain players whose salaries are over the designated player threshold.
The Portland Timbers have made significant use of their TAM since its introduction two years ago, buying down the contracts of Fanendo Adi, Darlington Nagbe, Diego Chara, and Liam Ridgewell. The most notable use of TAM for the Timbers was in buying down Adi’s salary cap hit, which allowed the team to bring in designated player Lucas Melano during the 2015 season.
Over at MLS’s roster rules and regulations page, four uses for TAM are listed.
Clubs may use the funds to sign a new player provided his salary and acquisition costs are more than the maximum salary budget.
Clubs may re-sign an existing player provided he is earning more than the maximum salary budget.
Clubs may use a portion of or all of the available Targeted Allocation Money to convert a Designated Player to a non-Designated Player by buying down his salary budget charge to at or below the maximum salary budget charge. If Targeted Allocation Money is used to free up a Designated Player slot, the club must simultaneously sign a new Designated Player at an investment equal to or greater than the player he is replacing.
A club retains the flexibility to convert a player bought down with Targeted Allocation Money into a Designated Player if that club has a free Designated Player slot.
Due to the obscured nature of allocation funds in MLS, it is hard to say just what the Timbers will due with the rumored TAM. We already know that the Timbers are on the hunt for several new additions to their lineup as they look to retool for 2017, but without the incoming funds from player sales — Jorge Villafana and George Fochive — and trades — Will Johnson — that the team saw at the end of 2015, it is possible that the money is already spoken for.