Earlier today, the Major League Soccer Players’ Association released the full list of MLS player salaries for 2023. Here are five of the main takeaways from today’s list, specifically pertaining to the Chicago Fire.
*** The full list of Chicago Fire salaries in comparison to 2022 can be found here. ***
Unlike last season, we have the full scope of the Fire’s roster this time around. The total guaranteed compensation for 2023 for the Fire is $19,800,919, which is the sixth-highest total in the league. The Fire only trails Toronto, L.A., Atlanta, D.C., and Austin in terms of total spend. Those teams have filled all their three DP slots; the Fire have not, meaning they are so high without a third Designated Player.
This is an increase from last year’s total of $17,645,464, which can be accounted for by the additions of Chris Mueller and Jairo Torres. Admittedly, the Fire are dramatically underperforming their salary, since they are far from the sixth-best team in the league, but the main factor in the team being this high is one player on a league-high salary.
This year’s salary guide showed that Lorenzo Insigne’s salary at Toronto halved from $14 million to around $7 million, which means that Shaqiri is once again the top earner in MLS. Shaqiri’s guaranteed compensation for 2023 is $8,153,000 which is the same number as last season, and for what it’s worth, he has one year left on his contract after 2023.
Though Shaqiri has turned things around in the last two matches and has looked like a DP-level player, he’s still a long way from living up to his insane price tag. Of course, as he is a DP, only the maximum senior salary is put towards the salary cap and all of that money is out of Joe Mansueto’s pocket, but it is still a big investment by the club nonetheless. He’ll have some time to prove that his current form is no fluke, and that it was the right decision to break the bank for this iconic Swiss star.
New contracts, pay raises
Numerous first team players received well-deserved raises. Chief among them is Fede Navarro, who was an solid bargain at $277,504 last season; his new deal earns him $507,500 making him the eighth-highest earner at the club.
Miguel Ángel Navarro, Chris Mueller, Fabian Herbers, Carlos Terán, Mauricio Pineda, and Wyatt Omsberg all saw considerable increases in their salary, while Jairo Torres had the biggest boost since his DP contract increased by a quarter of a million dollars.
Gastón Giménez to TAM
Most agreed that Giménez was not playing up to the level of his DP tag over the past three seasons, and it was a smart decision by the club to offer him a TAM deal this season. It’s also a great thing that he accepted that deal, because the central midfielder has been quite good this season, and the lowered bar has definitely played a part.
Despite a drop of $727,334 down to a Max-TAM salary, Giménez is still the second-highest earner at the club, as DP Jairo Torres is only on $1,469,337.
Brian Gutiérrez sees a well-deserved bump as his salary more than doubled to $240,004. Even at the increased price, a great value for money especially since he came from the Academy.
Last season with CF Montréal, Kamara was on just $94,000 and was an great value for money. When he arrived in Chicago, his salary appears to have more than doubled to $231,000; still a fantastic value given how important he’s been to the Fire this season.