Notes: I originally had Escobar on this list but the team traded him to LAFC on Sunday.
I think the team will protect Walkes as cover for its centerbacks. He’s an experienced and valuable starter.
Guzan’s status is a bit up in the air. A captain, he had another solid season but has a high salary ($805,000) and is 37 years old.
Who is automatically protected
George Bello, Homegrown
George Campebell, Homegrown
Machop Chol, Homegrown
Jackson Conway, Homegrown
Efrain Morales, Homegrown
Bryce Washington, Homegrown
Tyler Wolff, Homegrown
Who I think they will leave unprotected
Alex De John
Notes: The team didn’t pick up contract options for Adams, Bauer, Kann, Lundgaard and Torres, so they won’t be protected.
The biggest surprises on this list are likely Hyndman, Lopez and Rossetto.
Lopez was hyped by club President Darren Eales and Vice President Carlos Bocanegra before last season as a player with potential. That potential wasn’t realized last season. He scored just one goal and frequently didn’t make the gameday rosters. Plus, he has a salary of $508,300.
Hyndman missed most of last season because of a knee injury. That, combined with a high salary ($900,000), means Charlotte likely won’t select him so he may as well be left unprotected.
That leaves Rossetto. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rossetto is protected at the expense of either Walkes or Guzan (because of his high salary). Rossetto is a player that splits opinion. He has 36 appearances for the club but played just two standout games. He likely doesn’t have a high trade value. He’s a midfielder that doesn’t seem to excel in any one area. He has no goals, no assists and his expected goals and expected assists barely rise above 0.00. Plus, he has a very high salary ($662,500). Plus, if the team is considering changing its formation as Pineda and Bocanegra have said, Rossetto’s preferred defensive/central midfield position may no longer be a part of the plan.