Orlando City captain Kaka and Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco are MLS's highest-paid players, according to numbers released Thursday by the MLS Players Union.
For a second consecutive season, Kaka's guaranteed compensation of $7,167,500 edges Giovinco's $7,115,555.67
Guaranteed compensation takes into account base salary and signing and guaranteed bonuses annualized over the term of the player's contract (including option years). Marketing bonuses, performance bonuses and other individual agreements between players and clubs are separate and not listed. As a result, the numbers the MLSPU releases are not gospel, but they are an indicator and reference for the league's payment structure.
After Giovinco, TFC and U.S. men's national team captain Michael Bradley comes in at $6.5 million, making him the highest-paid American player in the league. He's followed by teammates Jozy Altidore ($4,825,000) and Clint Dempsey ($4,605,941.50). Tim Howard, who is joining the Colorado Rapids this summer, is on the books at $2,575,000.
England veterans Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are the fourth- and fifth-best earners in the league, respectively, which might make fans who are unimpressed at their lack of production or injury situations groan. Gerrard is making $6,132,500 this season, while Lampard is at an even $6 million.
Elsewhere of note in the union's figures is that 2017 expansion team Atlanta United FC has made three signings, with first signing Alexander Tambakis joined by Efrain Burgos and Jeffrey Oblitey Otoo.
In total, MLS is up to 23 players who are making at least $1 million in guaranteed compensation across 14 of the league's 20 teams. Listed by club:
CHICAGO FIRE: Gilberto ($1,145,000)
COLUMBUS CREW SC: Federico Higuain ($1,175,000)
COLORADO RAPIDS: Tim Howard ($2,575,000), Shkelzen Gashi ($1,668,750), Kevin Doyle ($1,120,000)
LA GALAXY: Steven Gerrard ($6,132,000), Giovani Dos Santos ($4,250,000), Robbie Keane ($3,500,000)
MONTREAL IMPACT: Didier Drogba ($2,166,667)
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION: Kei Kamara ($1,000,000)
NEW YORK CITY FC: Frank Lampard ($6,000,000), Andrea Pirlo ($5,915,690), David Villa ($5,610,000)
ORLANDO CITY SC: Kaka ($7,167,500)
PORTLAND TIMBERS: Liam Ridgewell ($1,250,000)
REAL SALT LAKE: Juan Manuel Martinez ($1,458,666.67)
SEATTLE SOUNDERS: Clint Dempsey ($4,605,941.50), Nelson Valdez ($1,455,000)
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: Innocent Emeghara ($1,300,000)
TORONTO FC: Sebastian Giovinco ($7,115,555.67), Michael Bradley ($6,500,000), Jozy Altidore ($4,825,000)
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS: Pedro Morales ($1,258,900)