Real Salt Lake ponders what to do with its picks in MLS SuperDraft
SALT LAKE CITY — Don't expect a lot of fireworks coming out of today's Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Baltimore, at least as far as Real Salt Lake is concerned.
RSL will have two picks, the No. 14th overall, in the first round, and No. 52 in the third round. However, with a solid core of players returning next season and salaries bumping up against the league's $2.7 salary cap, RSL may opt to trade its first pick.
In a conference call Tuesday afternoon, RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey said more than once that RSL may try to trade its pick for money due to salary cap considerations.
When asked what need his team was looking to fill from the draft, he said, "I don't think there's any specific position we are looking for, and we also need to be mindful of our salary cap situation going into this draft. So you could possibly see us trade (the first-round) pick."
Later he said, "I don't know that we're going to take on another salary in this draft."
With the No. 14 pick, RSL is not likely to get an impact player anyway. Lagerwey says there are "three to five" good players at the top.
"After that it gets pretty average, pretty quickly," he said. "I think the one upside may be that this draft will stay 'average' for longer than some other drafts have."
In other words, RSL may get the same type of player at No. 14 that it would have at No. 6.
Lagerwey said the club will have the same philosophy it's had the past couple of years if it does draft a player.
"We're looking to do what we've done for the last three years now, which is try to pick the best player on the board and assume that he won't contribute at all this year," he said, "with the possible hope that, if everything goes well ... they can work themselves into the team as the season moves on and will become a really productive player for us by seasons two and three."
Lagerwey wouldn't mention names, but he did say what kind of player RSL would look for, if it keeps its picks.
"The RSL 'player mold' starts with having to be good on the ball," he said. "If you're not, you just won't work on our team. Preferably the player on top of that has some athletic ability because we ask our players to run so much and to cover a lot of ground."
The first round of the SuperDraft will be broadcast on ESPN2, with coverage of the remaining two rounds covered by MLSsoccer.com.
JOHNSON SIGNS: Lagerwey also announced that midfielder Will Johnson has been signed to a contract that extends through 2014.
"I'm happy to report that we've signed Will Johnson to a long-term contract," he said. "I think that we've remained committed to keeping together the core of our team with just some minor tinkering here and there, and we hope we can replicate last year's successes in 2011."
Lagerwey is also optimistic about new deals for Nat Borchers and Nick Rimando, whose contracts are up at the end of 2011 and 2012, respectively.
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