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D.C. United announces 2017 contract decisions

Five players had their options declined, six had their options exercised, one is close to a restructured deal, and four more are ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

D.C. United announced today that they would not be exercising the 2018 contract options on five players, with veteran defender Sean Franklin heading the list. United also confirmed that Bill Hamid, who has signed a pre-contract with FC Midtjylland, and Patrick Nyarko are both out of contract with the club. The Black-and-Red could end up re-negotiating new deals with any or all of the players involved today, but after a rough 2017 season it seems like this is goodbye for the majority of this group.

Beyond Franklin, the list of players not granted an extension includes forward Deshorn Brown, midfielders Julian Buescher and Rob Vincent, and rookie goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky. At the same time, the Black-and-Red exercised their option on Luciano Acosta, Nick DeLeon, Taylor Kemp, Kofi Opare, Jalen Robinson and Travis Worra. Those six players join nine more — Paul Arriola, Steve Birnbaum, Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin, Ian Harkes, Jared Jeffrey, Bruno Miranda, Patrick Mullins, and Zoltan Stieber — who were already under contract for 2018, leaving United’s roster at the moment at fifteen players.

You may notice some names missing here. Steve Clark’s status may have cause the longest delay, but we’ve already explained that situation this afternoon. That leaves Chris Korb, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Lloyd Sam, and Marcelo Sarvas. The first three have not had their options picked up, while Marcelo is out of contract. Sources close to the organization have informed Black and Red United that D.C. will continue to evaluate the possibility of new offers for these four players in the coming months.

As of now, though, they’re not on the roster. Korb, Marcelo, and Sam are all eligible for the Re-Entry Draft, which may complicate matters for United. Steve Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that Korb is probably going with that option. Players do have to opt in for that particular process, so if they’re not on the list for it (that will come out on December 14), it would be a sign that re-signing with United is close.

These moves are in addition to Chris Rolfe’s retirement and Bill Hamid’s departure to FC Midtjylland. Buescher had previously posted a message via his Instagram page indicating that he would not be back with the team in 2018, so his departure was well known.

Of the five out-and-out departures announced today, Franklin, Brown, and Vincent were all on the senior roster, while Klenofsky took up a reserve spot. Buescher was on the supplemental roster, and as a Generation Adidas player did not take up cap space. Of the players United may still bring back, Marcelo and Sam occupied senior roster spots, while Korb and Odoi-Atsem were on the supplemental roster.

The various changes leave nine senior roster spots (the players who count towards the salary cap) open at the moment, though the “yet to be determined” group all re-signing would take that number down to seven. For the purposes of this exercise, we’re counting Clark (who takes up a senior spot) as being signed. Either way, as we outlined previously, these departures make Ben Olsen’s statements that we will see a lot of new faces next year a certainty.

December 13, 15, & 21 are the next dates for Black-and-Red fans to keep an eye on as the Waiver Draft and both stages of the Re-Entry draft occur. It would not be surprising if Dave Kasper fills a roster spot or two with someone there, particularly in the latter of the two events.

After all the moves, here’s what United’s roster looks like at the moment:

DCU roster after contract decisions 11/29/2017

Player Roster section Other notes
Player Roster section Other notes
Luciano Acosta Senior International; will be DP in 2018
Paul Arriola Senior DP
Steve Birnbaum Senior
Russell Canouse Senior
Steve Clark Senior Deal pending
Nick DeLeon Senior
Chris Durkin Reserve Homegrown
Ian Harkes Reserve Homegrown
Jared Jeffrey Senior
Taylor Kemp Senior
Bruno Miranda Reserve International; on loan with United through 2018
Patrick Mullins Senior
Kofi Opare Senior
Jalen Robinson Reserve Homegrown
Zoltan Stieber Senior International
Travis Worra Supplemental