Home MLS Montreal Impact Impact gets a bonus draft pick because SKC wanted to avoid waiver process

Impact gets a bonus draft pick because SKC wanted to avoid waiver process

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Sporting Kansas City decided against playing poker on Friday — and the Montreal Impact got a second-round draft pick out of it.

On Wednesday, the Impact announced it got SKC’s second-round pick in the SuperDraft in exchange for defender Josh Gardner. For the Impact, it’s a bonus pick; the club had made Gardner available for Friday’s Re-Entry Draft. It didn’t want Gardner back.

Had SKC been able to snatch Gardner in the Re-Entry Draft, it could have snatched the American defender for nothing other than a contract. The Impact would have received nothing.

Josh Gardner

But, obviously, the Sporting Kansas City brass felt that there was a chance that Gardner, who had a base salary of just over US$54,000 last season, would not fall to them in the Re-Entry Draft, even though history has shown us that Stage 1 of this process usually has general managers saying “pass” rather than wading into the pool.

But, with Gardner’s reasonable price tag and MLS experience, SKC felt that someone ahead of it in the pecking order (and, as SKC finished first in the East, most teams would have been ahead of it) could take a flyer on Gardner. So, it decided the best way to ensure Gardner’s move was to make a deal with Montreal ahead of time.

In a lot of ways, this deal worked a lot like how out-of-contract players moved before the Re-Entry Draft was introduced as part of the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Before 2010, players who were out of contract could only move to other MLS teams through a very complicated system that many fans and even players often misunderstood.

Before 2010, if a player’s option wasn’t picked up, his rights still belonged to the team that had him. That is, until another GM called MLS front office and said he wanted that player. If that happened, MLS would centrally re-sign that player, and the team that had the player the season before was given right of first refusal; if it matched the second team’s offer, the player stayed put. If not, the player would be made available on waivers after an allotted time. But, usually, the second team, wanting to ensure it got said player before he was exposed to waivers, would offer a token draft pick to that first team in order to get the player via trade rather than risk waivers.

Players often said that the system didn’t allow player movement; but in frank terms, it usually meant that out-of-contract players weren’t wanted at their previous salaries by the other GMs in the league.

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