Stejskal: Contract details on new Real Salt Lake signing Samuel Johnson

Sam Johnson, Craig Waibel - Real Salt Lake - at Johnson's RSL signing

Real Salt Lake have some flexibility with their newest Designated Player.

RSL announced on Monday that they signed Liberian forward Sam Johnson to a DP deal. His signing gives Salt Lake the league maximum of three Designated Players on their roster, though sources told on Thursday that Johnson’s deal can be bought down with Targeted Allocation Money.

The sources said that Johnson signed a two-year guaranteed contract that that will pay him an average of $650,000 per year in 2019 and 2020. The sources added that RSL paid Norwegian club Valerenga an $850,000 transfer fee for the 24-year-old.

Even if the transfer fee isn’t amortized over the life of his deal and counts entirely toward Johnson’s 2019 budget charge, RSL could still use TAM to buy him down this season. In that scenario, Johnson’s budget charge would be $1.5 million this year, just below the $1.53 million ceiling a player must be under to be eligible for TAM.

The sources indicated that it’s likely that the transfer fee will be amortized over the life of his contract, however, making his budget charge closer to $1 million per season and allowing RSL to use less TAM to buy him down below the 2019 DP threshold of $530,000 should they want to sign a new DP this season.

Attacking midfielder Albert Rusnak and winger Jefferson Savarino are the other two Designated Players on RSL’s roster.