• Clubs may use the funds to sign a new player, provided his salary and acquisition costs are more than the Maximum Salary Budget Charge.
• Clubs may re-sign an existing player, provided he is earning more than the Maximum Salary Budget Charge.
• Clubs may use all or a portion of the available Targeted Allocation Money to convert a Designated Player to a non-Designated Player by buying down his Salary Budget Charge at or below the Maximum Salary Budget Charge. If Targeted Allocation Money is used to free a Designated Player slot, the club must simultaneously sign a new Designated Player at an investment equal to, or greater than, the player he is replacing.
A club retains the flexibility to convert a player bought down with Targeted Allocation Money into a Designated Player if that club has a free Designated Player slot.
• Clubs may use up to $200,000 of currently approved Targeted Allocation Money (amounts through 2019) to sign new Homegrown Players to their first MLS contract. It cannot be used on Homegrown Players previously signed to MLS.
So TAM can’t be used to give Gressel a raise because he isn’t at DP level. If the club were to offer him a new contract, and he were to agree, and that contract exceeded the minimum threshold, then the club could use TAM to buy down the budget charge.
TAM isn’t used to give raises to players making below the maximum budget charge of $530,000. GAM is used.
Again, from the league website, here are the uses of GAM:
• To sign players new to MLS (that is, a player who did not play in MLS during the previous season).
• To re-sign an existing MLS player.
• To offset acquisition costs (loan and transfer fees).
• In connection with the extension of a player's contract for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately previous year.
• To reduce the Salary Budget Charge of a Designated Player to a limit of $150,000.