A club source tells Stumptown Footy that the Portland Timbers on Sunday morning traded the right to exclusively negotiate with Darren Mattocks to D.C. United in exchange for an international roster slot for 2018.
Last month the Timbers declined Mattocks’s option, but remained in negotiations with the Jamaican striker. At the time it was expected that Mattocks would return to Portland in 2018 as the Timbers held the exclusive right within MLS to negotiate with him until the Re-Entry Draft later this month.
That, however, is not in the cards. Rather than let him go for free later this month, the Timbers are shipping Matocks’s rights to D.C. United in exchange for a 2018 international roster slot. The acquisition of the international slot reinforces the preexisting expectation that the Timbers plan to bring multiple foreign players to Portland this offseason.
The trade also re-raises the question whether the Timbers plan to hand the backup striker reins to Jeremy Ebobisse in 2018. Although it remains early in the offseason, the Timbers have not been linked to any other players at the number-nine position.
What is certain, however, is that Mattocks will not return to Portland in 2018. Mattocks came to Portland in the spring of 2016. Splitting time between the wing and up top, Mattocks scored five goals and registered five assists in 43 appearances in the Rose City. Although much of his time came through spot starts and bench appearances, Mattocks was an important piece of the Timbers’ late-2017 surge that lifted them to the top of the Western Conference.
Mattocks’s option for 2018, however, carried with it a hefty salary budget number for a player that would once again back up Fanendo Adi. Accordingly, the Timbers declined Mattocks’s option with an eye toward inking a new deal at a lower salary cap hit. That deal, however, did not materialize, leading to Sunday’s trade.