Sources: Red Bulls acquire Toronto’s Eckersley at a bargain

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

Following initial reports from ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, sources tell EOS Toronto FC fullback Richard Eckersley has been traded to New York, pending league approval.

From a salary standpoint, the deal is akin to the Heath Pearce trade with Chivas USA. Toronto will pay out a large portion of Eckersley’s hefty final contract year while New York take on a “significantly” smaller amount. Sources explain his combined wages for 2014 would see Eckersley paid “DP money” thanks in part to a back-ended restructuring of his 2013 contract. The total number is likely in the neighborhood of $350-400k a year, though one source believes it is closer to $450k.

To make this deal happen, Toronto will pay Eckersley the lion’s share of his guaranteed salary, while New York pays anywhere from $100-150k for his services. A buyout clause in Toronto’s original deal means their share will not count against the cap. For New York, the bargain-basement wages allow the team to bring in a quality player under a stretched salary cap.

New York will not be trading any talent in exchange for the English defender, but allocation money is “probable.”

The trade is no surprise to Eckersley, who expected a move for many months. The beneficiary of an ill-advised, big money contract during the Paul Mariner era, Eckersley’s outlandish wages offered him a comfortable living, but squeezed Toronto’s cap over the past few years. In 2013, he restructured that deal, deferring tens of thousands of dollars to the final year of his contract.

Money wasn’t the only obstacle in his departure. Like former teammate Bobby Convey, Eckersley sought a winning situation within the league and the Red Bulls seemed a perfect fit. The fullback has enjoyed his time in MLS and was willing to eschew offers overseas for another crack at success. Toronto’s buyout offer allows the English back to recover a large portion of his money while looking towards other challenges within MLS.

In New York, the Worsley native will be pit against Japanese fullback Kosuke Kimura for the starting right back spot. While lacking in quickness, Eckersley still likes to get involved on the offensive end. He brings the Red Bulls a respected, intelligent, distributive foot off of the right that can play a compliment to either midfielders Eric Alexander or Lloyd Sam. He has also featured for Toronto at left back and centerback as well, giving New York the versatility they seek in this multi-front season..

27 Comments

  1. Tony

    01/26/2014 at 11:54 am

    Bringing in now two underperforming players from a team that has never made the playoffs is puzzling? More concerning is that these two players are a risk! We can’t deny that they are good players but eckersley has been plagued with injuries throughout his career. I was hoping that red bulls would have dropped some money on chance Meyers who has yet to sign with skc. By the way there is a real need to get the numbers report because I just don’t believe that the red bulls “we can’t afford” salary cap woes.

    • Dave Martinez

      01/26/2014 at 12:05 pm

      A lot of the salary woes are based on increased wages, bonuses and the like of current players. Others, like Espindola, were hired based on previously worked deals that promised outlandish payouts. They are in a crunch, but with the way MLS works, who knows just how bad.

  2. Anthony J.

    01/26/2014 at 2:12 pm

    I like this deal. Adds depth to the back line and I think Eckersley will be more motivated in New York. Not the first time underperforming players in bad teams have found themselves rejuvenated in New York.

  3. stan

    01/26/2014 at 2:54 pm

    So basically no Connor Lade again this season, Backe at least gave young American players a chance to play. Ecks is ok but not to the point that we needed 100k of the salary cap to go to that position. We add Convey on left for competition and add two right backs, still no playmaker though. The middle of the field has stepped up dramatically in the east, we maybe in for a rude awakening this season in the middle

    • Anonymous

      01/26/2014 at 3:59 pm

      I like the move. Conor I like too and is welcome to win a starting spot alongside other young Americans like Dax and Alexander.

  4. Anonymous

    01/26/2014 at 11:18 pm

    New York Fans will be astute enough to realize very quickly that Eckersley is a one dimensional player without the vision and creativity I saw from NYRB last year. A bulldog he is, a player worth the money he is making in MLS not a chance… there are young North American players that can fill his shoes at 1/3 the cost. Shocked New York would take a gander on a player like Eckersley that is in such an “old school” British prototype. Glad I don’t have to endure watching him struggle for Toronto anymore…worth $80-$100k in the MLS realm…was making close to $400K last year thanks to the Brain Trusts at TFC….Paul Mariner.

  5. OZ

    01/26/2014 at 11:19 pm

    New York Fans will be astute enough to realize very quickly that Eckersley is a one dimensional player without the vision and creativity I saw from NYRB last year. A bulldog he is, a player worth the money he is making in MLS not a chance… there are young North American players that can fill his shoes at 1/3 the cost. Shocked New York would take a gander on a player like Eckersley that is in such an “old school” British prototype. Glad I don’t have to endure watching him struggle for Toronto anymore…worth $80-$100k in the MLS realm…was making close to $400K last year thanks to the Brain Trusts at TFC….Paul Mariner.

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