By Brian Maurer
Image courtesy of Charlotte FC
Charlotte FC announced yesterday that they were exercising the options of four players for 2023: Daniel Ríos, McKinze Gaines, Derrick Jones, and George Marks. These signings have provided some insight into how the winter window may look for Charlotte FC. Getting these deals done now also reduces the amount of deals that need to be done as the various deadlines approach in November. Defenders Christian Fuchs and Harrison Afful had their options declined, opening up at least two roster spots.
Here is the list of the remaining players that are on expiring contracts:
Koa Santos - There is a 2023 option on his contract. This option would need to be picked up by November 14th. This decision will likely be pushed back until after the Charlotte Independence’s season ends, which will be at least another week longer as they qualified for the playoffs this past weekend.
Quinn McNeill - There is a 2023 option on his contract. This option would need to be picked up by November 14th. This decision will likely be pushed back until after the Charlotte Independence’s season ends, which will be at least another week longer as they qualified for the playoffs this past weekend.
Charlotte FC have 26 of their 30 roster spots accounted for. The decisions on the Santos and McNeill options are likely to happen after the Charlotte Independence season ends. If their options do not get exercised one possible scenario is their options could get declined but that they could receive contracts for the MLS NEXT Pro team. We will likely have to wait another couple of weeks to get a final update on them.
What the front office's decisions show is two fold: One, they are confident in the roster they have going into 2023. Two, that this roster needs around two more signing upgrades to make the jump into a playoff spot. If Santos and McNeill do not get their options picked up Charlotte could have a little more roster flexibility to work with in the winter.
As of now Charlotte FC for sure has two roster spots open, and they are both domestic slots. This means that both MLS free agency and a blockbuster trade from within MLS could both be in the cards during the winter. If Charlotte want to bring a roster upgrade from abroad they will likely need to shop one of their current international players.