For the first time in Major League Soccer history, teams have the ability to sign free agent players on their own terms this off-season. Any player whose contract was up and is at least 28 years old with eight years of MLS service was eligible for free agency. With 26 players free to sign with clubs in this inaugural class, nobody quite knows what to expect.
We're just over a week into the free agent window, and Justin Mapp, arguably the best player on the market, signed with Sporting KC -- becoming the first free agent signing in MLS history. Drew Moor also signed with Toronto as a free agent today. There are a couple more players rumored to be close with teams.
Orlando City, at least publicly, has been pretty quiet on the free agent front so far, but that doesn't mean with a number of quality players still available the team won't make some moves in the coming days/weeks.
One of Orlando City's primary needs this off-season is a veteran forward that can challenge Cyle Larin in preseason and back him up during the regular season. One player that stands out as a potentially good fit is Chicago Fire free agent Mike Magee.
Magee is just two years removed from winning the MLS MVP award with the Fire in 2013, but after undergoing hip surgery late in the 2014 season, he appeared in only 12 MLS matches for Chicago this past season, starting three, and going goal-less and notching two assists. He's also dealt with other injuries throughout his career, including having knee surgery back in 2007. Given that track record, coming to Orlando, where the Lions will be playing most -- if not all -- of 2016 on turf in the Citrus Bowl, there is some concern over how healthy Magee can stay at 31 years old.
His 2015 base salary, according to the numbers released by the MLS Players Union, was at $400,000 -- just slightly under Designated Player status -- which, based on his career numbers, seems fair, but given his latest injury and the fact that he didn't score a goal for Chicago in 2015, is higher than Orlando should be willing to pay.
The numbers are impressive, though -- 21 goals in 2013, seven in 17 games in 2014. He's a guy that can score, and score in big moments. Orlando City could have used a few more goal scorers in 2015.
On paper, Magee would seem like a good fit in Orlando, and is the kind of player that Adrian Heath can work well with. Whether or not his salary and injuries are enough to convince Orlando City are another issue that we'll have to see what the team thinks.
But really, with Tally Hall gone, Orlando City just needs another great personality in the locker room, and Magee might be one of the best personalities in MLS.