As part of the new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the player's union back in the early part of the year, MLS is holding it's first Re-Entry draft next week. I'm still working to uncover more information about exactly how this draft will work, I'm sure MLS will fill us in at some point (cross your fingers).
All MLS teams have until December 1st to pick up contract options on players. If that players option is not picked-up they will enter the re-entry draft. Pretty simple right? What happens after that is still a bit mysterious but I assume there will be a draft order and that teams will have the option to select players and make them a contract offer or not doing anything at all.
The re-entry draft is sort of a quasi free agency in the sense it provides MLS players will a big of freedom if there contract option is declined by their current team. Before, a player could have his contract option not picked-up but still be unable to leave their club. While they still aren't truly free to sign with any team they like, at least now they can potentially move on assuming another team is interested.
You have to think there will be a lot of back room deals between teams and between teams and players leading up to the first draft next week. It might actually be interesting to see how this process plays out and just how much transparency MLS gives us (I expect very little).
As for the Dynamo, the first step in the process is determining whose contract options to pick-up. It's logical to assume that the 11 players protected, a 3 auto-protected players, from last week's expansion draft will have their options picked-up. The big question marks are the players who were not protected.
Jesus Ortiz from the Chronicle has already confirmed that Pat Onstad's option will not be picked-up by the team and he is awaiting a contract offer. Onstad earned a base salary of $164,000 last season and if he is to return to the Dynamo in 2011, it will likely be at a reduced rate.
I would expect that other veterans and higher salary players that weren't protected last week will also have their options declined but could be offered new contracts at reduced wages. Players like Ryan Cochrane, Eddie Robinson, Richard Mulrooney and Anthony Obodai fall in to this category.
Once we see a list for the re-entry draft we'll have a better idea of the Dynamo's plans for the off-season.