With the Seattle Sounders’ roster virtually overcrowded and their salary cap maxed out, there was a sense that GM Garth Lagerwey would be looking for a way to find a little relief sooner or later.
It seems as if he’s found it in as elegant a style as possible, as Stephen Gove of The Washington Post reports that the Sounders are close to finalizing a deal to send Brad Smith to DC United.
DC United has identified a replacement for Kevin Paredes at left-back: Seattle Sounders’ Brad Smith. Very serious trade talks. Sounders to receive MLS Bucks™️. #dcu
– Stephen Gove (@SoccerInsider) January 27 2022
Based on Sounder at Heart reports, the Sounders are unlikely to bring in a significant amount of money earmarked in this trade, but they can still have a fair amount of flexibility. Primarily, the Sounders will be able to pull Smith’s salary from their books. He is set to earn nearly $600,000 in 2022 and also occupies a spot on the international list.
Combined with Joao Paulo receiving a green card, Saunders will have four slots open on the international roster. These traded anywhere between $200,000 and $250,000 at GAM this off season.
What makes the move to Smith particularly elegant is that in addition to achieving his relatively healthy salary cap and international standing, he is unlikely to have been the initiator and may in fact be third behind Noho and Jimmy Medranda.
Still, Smith was reasonably productive when he was available. Last year he started strong but faded and finished with 3 goals and 4 assists in about 1,600 minutes. The Australia international scored 3 goals and 11 assists in around 4,200 minutes spread over parts of his four seasons with the Sounders. That’s good for around 30 goals + assists per 90 minutes. Nouhou, who was more than just a defender, weighed in at 0.07g+a/90 while Jimmy Medranda is .48g+a/90 during his time with the Sounders.
In the short term, the Sounders will likely use the roster space to sign a young player from either the Tacoma Defiance or their academy. In the long run, though, the move will give Sounders the flexibility to make a signature effect during the summer when they’re more likely to know where their roster is lacking.
Depending on what happens with Alex Villanueva’s experience with LAFC, Smith’s trade could also create a bit more roster space to bring the 19-year-old back into the fold. Villanueva scored 2 goals and made 3 assists in nearly 1,900 minutes at Deviance last year.