New England Revolution: Michael Mancienne, the million dollar defender?

Michael Mancienne (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Michael Mancienne (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The New England Revolution decided to pay Michael Mancienne $1.28M, making him the highest paid MLS defender. But is he worth the payday?

Michael Mancienne came to the New England Revolution, on August 15, 2018, on a ‘free transfer’ from Nottingham Forest. In other words, he had no value in English football. The Revolution then decided to make him the highest paid defender in the league, with a $1.28M salary. Really?

It’s never too early to start questioning the wisdom of dedicating 19% of your payroll on a player allowed to leave by his previous club.

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Since arriving in Foxborough, Mancienne has played in eight of the ten games he was available; when on the field the team has averaged 2.25 goals against. That’s not great. In fact, when you compare his contract with the six defenders that were 2018 MLS All-Stars, it gets worse.

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Graham Zusi (Sporting KC): $782,102 – That’s a premium for an MLS defender, but Zusi does have luxury stats. He’s a six-time MLS All-Star and was just named Sporting KC’s 2018 co-Defender of the Year. The team has allowed 38 goals this year, which is better than average. Plus, he’s the face of the franchise.

Francisco Calvo (Minnesota): $522,600 – If this were the only comparison, the Mancienne deal doesn’t look as bad. Francisco has played in just 24 games and the Loons have allowed 48 goals, mediocre at best. The difference is still $757,000, pretty significant.

Matt Hedges (FC Dallas): $525,004 – 2018 FC Dallas Defender of the Year, appeared in 31 games on a back line that allowed 39 goals. He’s also been with the club for seven years.

Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United): $340,008 – Captain of the team, nine-year MLS veteran and the heart and soul of the back line. He’s played in every game this season, on a team allowing 39 goals. Parkhurst is one of those players that is more than just numbers, every coach wants one of him.

Aaron Long (NYRB): $73,125 – Started in 29 out of 32 games on a team that has allowed only 33 goals, the lowest in the league. You could buy 17 Aaron Long’s for one Mancienne.  I’ll stop now.

Michael Murillo (NYRB): $88,745 – Only started in 19 out of 30 games, not as impressive as Long, but still a big part of a league best defensive unit. You could buy 14 Michael Murillo’s for one Mancienne. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Also, kudos to the Red Bull’s front office on the two picks.

When looked at through this lens it is not a pretty picture. Granted, this is a very small sample size, but it’s enough to warrant a review.

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If I were the General Manager, I would take a long, hard look at this investment. Do you think Mancienne is worth $1.28M?  What would you pay?