Marcelo Silva out of contract after 2022 season, 3 others have club options
Marcelo Silva, a 33-year old center back, is a pending free agent according to a release from the MLS Players Association on Wednesday, July 20th.
Silva is in the final year of his contract, and he meets the requirements for MLS free agency (at least 24 years old and with at least five years of MLS experience). Three RSL players highlighted also have club options in their contracts.
This season, Silva has scored two goals through 19 matches (all starts), while playing 1,695 minutes. He is completing 88.2% of his passes and has made five key passes on the season. He is winning duels at one of the highest marks on the team and has made 30 interceptions (tied for the most on the team). Silva helps lead a top-10 defense in terms of goals allowed for RSL.
I would imagine that, even at his age, there's a decent chance RSL will try to bring Silva back in free agency if they can with how important he has been to the squad in what has been a successful season so far for RSL.
Real Salt Lake will have to negotiate a new contract with Marcelo Silva
Silva had a cap hit of $600,000 this season (according to the MLSPA's listing of player salaries), which is tied for third most on the club of any non-DP. He joined RSL in 2017 on a free transfer from Real Zaragoza in the Spanish second division and has now appeared in exactly 100 matches for RSL. He is close to setting his high for appearing in matches in a season at RSL (he appeared in 20 last year). He is also just 16 minutes away from a RSL-high in that stat too.
Nick Besler, Johan Kappelhof, and Andrew Putna all have one club option remaining on their contracts. This means that RSL could pick up their options and bring them back for another year, or decline their options and they would enter free agency.
Kappelhof and Besler will be interesting cases as to whether RSL picks up their options and keeps them around for another year. They both have manageable cap-hits this season ($260,000 and $210,000 respectively), but haven't played a ton this season.
Kappelhof, a 31-year old center back, has one goal on the season through 360 minutes (four starts), but he missed a chunk of time earlier in the season with injury. He played three straight matches from July 3rd-13th, but did not appear in RSL's most recent match. I think what he does through the remainder of the season will play a huge role in whether his option is picked up.
Besler, a 29-year old midfielder, has played just 170 minutes on the season across nine matches. He has played in a lot of matches over the past few years with the club (78 appearances from 2018-2021), but hasn't been able to consistently find his way into the squad this season. Whether he can find his way into the rotation in final few months of the season could determine his future, but at this point it wouldn't surprise me if his option is declined.
Putna is listed as having a club option for this offseason, although he is currently not with the team (he's not listed on the team roster, for what it's worth) after an incident last season at practice where he was ultimately disciplined by MLS for allegedly making racially abusive comments to a teammate. MLS released a statement at the time saying, "The MLS investigation confirmed those allegations, finding that Putna did make derogatory remarks referencing another player’s ethnicity." It is just about a guarantee at this point that Putna's club option will be declined.
It is worth noting that other players could have options declined/picked up on their contracts if they have multiple option years on their deals. Those three are just the three that are heading into their final club option of their contracts and are eligible for free agency.