The previous post with information about important offseason events was organized by the byzantine mechanisms. Let’s organize it by date, yeah?
Dec. 1 (that’s today!)
Clubs that made it past the first round of the playoffs submit their contract options and bona fide offers* within 24 hours of their elimination from the playoffs. Teams that missed the playoffs or were eliminated earlier had to submit by 1 p.m. EST Nov. 30.
Although the league’s deadline is firm, clubs themselves are responsible for publicizing their decisions, so the announcements and public knowledge of those decisions is not beholden to any specific timeline.
* This is complicated to describe as a small piece of a single sentence! More clearly: players who remain under multi-year contracts (or have had the option for an additional year exercised), those who are no longer under contract (or have had the option for an additional year declined), and those with whom the club has right-of-first-refusal and is continuing to negotiate.
Dec. 2: Loser of Seattle/Dallas must submit roster decisions
Dec. 4: Loser of SKC/Minnesota must submit roster decisions
Dec. 7: Loser of Columbus/New England must submit roster decisions
Dec. 8: Loser of Western Conference Final must submit roster decisions
Dec. 13: Loser of MLS Cup must submit roster decisions.
All roster decisions should be publicized by this point.
Half-day trade window open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST. Last year, this was a two-day window, but most years have seen only a half-day window. Nashville SC acquired Dax McCarty and Dave Romney during this window last season (though the moves were reported prior to that time).
The window also happened before the roster deadline last year, so it’s a slightly different dynamic. A lot of “the rights to [player]” moves are probably going to happen this year – or maybe not, since other mechanisms could facilitate the signing of that player – with the receiving club signing an out-of-contract player to a new contract after the previous club declined to sign him (but still held MLS rights).
The list of players eligible to be selected by Austin FC in the 2020 Expansion Draft is released by MLS. Nashville SC’s front office will be able to protect 12 players (and four will be automatically protected). Players eligible for re-entry (stage one), waivers, and free agency are also listed by MLS. Those lists are released at the following times:
- 10 a.m. EST: Waivers/Expansion draft
- 11 a.m. EST: List of free agents
- Noon EST: Re-entry
- 1 p.m. EST: Also Expansion Draft (your guess is as good as mine as to which time is outdated)
MLS Expansion Draft takes place. Austin FC will add five players to its roster, selecting from a handful of other MLS teams.
Waiver process takes place at 1 p.m. Free Agency also opens at 1 p.m.
Re-entry phase one takes place at 1 p.m. Nashville SC selected Eric Miller from New York City FC in this process last year.
- 10 a.m. EST: List of players available for Re-entry phase two is released
- 1 p.m. EST: Re-entry phase two begins
There is still no date set for the MLS SuperDraft (the traditional college draft), but given that the majority of NCAA leagues will play a Spring season – only the ACC and Sun Belt played this Fall – it’s likely teams will be drafting more to stash guys on USL loans after the conclusion of their college seasons than hope for early contributors.