Currently in the first of two option years on the back end of the five-year deal he signed as an 18-year-old in December of 2016, Cannon has become one of FCD’s most dependable starters with more than 5,000 league minutes played over the past two seasons.
He also ranks among the best values in MLS with current annual wages of $80,250 according to MLS Players Association documents, and has become a US men’s national team regular, notching his 11th cap in their friendly vs. Costa Rica earlier this month. All that has fueled ample interest in Cannon overseas, with The Athletic reporting in November that clubs in England’s top two divisions had inquired about a transfer deal.
Hunt & Co. recognize that their right back will probably make that move eventually. But buoyed by their qualification for last year’s MLS Cup Playoffs and their near-upset of eventual champions the Seattle Sounders in the first round, Dallas are keen to lock down as much of their young core as possible and intend to make Cannon feel at home for as long as he wishes to stay.
“We have a team this last year that gave Seattle their toughest match in the playoffs, barely losing to them in a tough environment – the youngest team in the history of the MLS playoffs, I believe,” said Hunt. “So that that was a big accomplishment and a big milestone for us. And we went into the offseason saying we've got to resign a bunch of these players. So obviously Paxton [Pomykal], Jesus [Ferreira], Jesse Gonzalez, they got new contracts. We’re working on Reggie Cannon’s contract right now.
“We want to offer Reggie the security – this is home for him and we love him. He is a fantastic young man, both on and off the field, he is really special. And at some point you know he may go to Europe. I can't tell you when that will happen, or he may play his whole career here, you never know. It's a collaboration with players. You have to work with the player and get them on the path that they want to be on.”
Cannon likely needs to rack up USMNT appearances this year if England is a top goal for him. Work-permit regulations have complicated or outright scuppered MLSers’ moves to that country over the years and appearing in a high percentage of your national team’s matches is a key element to most US and Canadian players’ prospects. As a top candidate for Jason Kreis' US Olympic squad, he could also benefit from the exposure of that platform as well.
Hunt says he and everyone at the club are rooting for Cannon to fulfill his potential, even if it speeds his path away from North Texas. A new deal would probably bring a hefty pay raise for the player while also safeguarding FCD’s investment as they balance their MLS Cup ambitions with the big-picture talent development plans geared around their prolific academy.
“It’s going to be an open dialogue with players. I would love it if every single player wanted to stay at FC Dallas their whole career, but that's not the reality of soccer at all,” said Hunt. “Hopefully we will be signing [Cannon] to a big deal. But I can't tell you when he's going to leave, if he's going to leave.
“There's been some interest and talk about him, and I was excited to see that he started off the January national team camp so well. That was really a great thing and I'm very, very hopeful for him ... if he wants to be part of the long-term plans, we want to make sure that he's financially taken care of, and part of our long-term term plan here.”