New England Soccer Today

Feilhaber’s Option Declined

Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber was among four players who had their contract options declined by the Revolution on Friday. (Photo: Tony Biscaia/

Bye, bye Benny.

On Friday, the New England Revolution declined its option on midfielder Benny Feilhaber, effectively ending the playmaker’s disappointing, two-season stint in Foxboro.

Feilahaber was among four players who had their options declined by the Revolution on Friday. Midfielders Fernando Cardenas and Blair Gavin, along with third-string goalkeeper Tim Murray, all had their options declined as well.

“After every season, we have to take a hard look at our roster and make some difficult decisions, both for personnel and salary budget considerations,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said in a statement on Friday. “In our case, we’ll continue discussions with some of the players we declined options on to see if the potential exists for them to return to the club next year.”

Feilhaber was acquired by the club in April 2011 via the allocation draft. While his propensity to make the killer pass was one of the few bright spots in a season that saw that Revolution sink to last place, his 2012 season was forgettable one, to say the least. In 29 games, the highest-paid player on the roster prior to Friday’s announcement rarely registered on the scoresheet (1 goal, 2 assists), and struggled with consistency.

The Revolution will continue to own his rights until a trade, transfer or new deal is arranged.

Cardenas featured in 27 games, scoring two goals and adding a pair of assists. He was signed by the club in January 2012, and showed glimpses of his playmaking potential. Yet, he was unable to truly establish himself in any of the positions that head coach Jay Heaps utilized him in.

Gavin, who was acquired in the Aug. 1 trade that jettisoned Shalrie Joseph to Chivas USA, struggled to make an impact after a hamstring injury delayed his Revolution debut. He featured in the final two games of the season. Although he acquitted himself well as a two-way player – albeit briefly –  it appeared the club had other plans.

Murray signed with the Revolution in April 2010, but in his three season in New England, never featured with the first team in league action.

Gavin and Murray are eligible for the MLS Re-entry Process, which will start on Dec. 7.

Meanwhile, the Revolution also announced on Friday that they had picked up the options on 15 players: goalkeepers Matt Reis and Bobby Shuttleworth; defenders Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Stephen McCarthy, A.J. Soares and Chris Tierney; midfielders Ryan Guy, Lee Nguyen, Sainey Nyassi, Clyde Simms and Juan Toja; and forwards Diego Fagundez, Dimitry Imbongo and Saer Sene.

Midfielder Kelyn Rowe and left back Tyler Polak, as well as forward Jerry Bengtson, were already under contract for 2013.

“We have retained a core group of players for next season and we’ll continue strengthening the team this off-season,” Burns said.

Taking into account the recent signings of midfielders Andy Dorman and Kalifa Cisse, the Revolution roster number currently stands at 20.


  1. Jim

    November 30, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    So I’m not surprised, but I am surprised.

    I’m not surprised that he is gone. He under-performed. He isn’t a leader, he doesn’t play his best around teammates who lack skill, and he doesn’t elevate the play of his teammates. It’s not really a knock against him – he just isn’t a “type 1”: footballer, he needs skill around him to play well. he’s a piece, not the answer.

    I’m proud of the FO for letting him go. (come to think of it, had he stayed, it wouldn’t have been a surprising display of ambivalence, either).

    I AM surprised that he was let go outright. Declined his option? So this means we are literally getting NOTHING for him? Not even another Blair Gavin? Surely a trade could have yielded SOMETHING.

    Benny Feilhaber is quite the free agent pickup for an MLS club like Seattle, DC, LA, SJ, etc. a team that needs only one more piece to be dominant. And what happens from here? Does he go into the “Re-Entry Draft”? Do the Revs bring him back for less via that draft??

  2. Brian O'Connell

    November 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Hey Jim,
    From what I understand, Benny rights are still held by the Revs. The only way he can make a move is if the Revs agree to trade or transfer him. So as of right now, there’s not a ton he can do until an offer falls on the Revs desk.

  3. Brian O'Connell

    November 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Of course, the Revs can always offer him a cap-friendly deal, although I’m not entirely sure Benny would be especially receptive to something like that.

    • Brian

      November 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Or benny could choose to go back abroad. As I understood it, the reason he came back to mls was because Bradley indicated he’d have more opportunities for looks with the nats, seeing as he is not in charge and Klins doesn’t seem to have an interest what is holding Benny from leaving? In that case the revs get nothing since he is not under contract and would be typical of their poor decision making. I think they should have picked his option and then traded him. Gavin I don’t get at all. Simms is good but aging and with cisse on board I don’t see how both Simms and cisse fit together. Gavin IMO might have been a nice option. Thank goodness we picked up Imbongo, burns really knows talent when he see it, definitely similar to Drogba in skill. don’t know what they would have done without him, surely his play this year is indicative of a true superstar of the future.

      • Brian

        November 30, 2012 at 6:02 pm

        And Nyassi what possible role does he have? Another mind blowing decision.

  4. Mat

    November 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I agree with all of these moves. This is one of the rare moves by the FO that I think will turn out really well. I like Benny but like Jim said, he needs more skill around him. I thought he’d be a good fit with us if we could bring in some higher quality players (e.g. I think Benny would be awesome with the Galaxy or some other team with lots of higher quality players around him). At first glance, I thought maybe the Revs were trying to resign him at a cap-friendly deal which Brain suggests–and I also agree it’s a long shot but I’m hopeful that will happen.

    As for Cardenas–I know everyone thought he was so great to have on the team (I get this idea from all of the fan posts on the Revs fb page), but I really didn’t think he was anything special. His play seemed so rushed and anxiety-driven with little result. Don’t get me wrong, the guy shows lots of hustle and that’s awesome..but lacked the skill.

    Gavin–I’m not even sure what the hell the Revs were doing there when they traded Joseph. I thought Shalrie was going to be our answer in the back 4 (CB).

  5. Robert

    November 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    The move made today with Benny is disappointing but not surprising considering his benching at the end of the season and the quick off-season signings of Cisse and Dorman. Cardenas is interesting since he was an occasional sparkplug off the bench as an attacking Midfielder, but I could see his role taken by Scott Caldwell (considered the 7th best overall draft prospect) who, hopefully, the Revs can sign to a Homegrown deal. I believe the declined contract options today hints to his signing. Back to Benny –
    it’s apparent that the Revs will try to trade him, but would the potential trade partner absorb a $450K cap hit or would the acquiring team and Benny have to negotiate a new deal before completing any trade? I’m a little confused how all that works.

  6. Chris B

    November 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I’m just amazed by how quick this Benny in New England thing went to hell. I remember this was probably the signing that got me the most excited (I’m only a third year fan BTW) and now he’s gone. However, the “honeymoon phase” wore off and we realized he’s just not fit for our team I guess…

  7. Robert

    November 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Just wondering – although it’s about a month and a half away, will New England Soccer Today be publishing a mock Superdraft, or analyze which college players the Revs could potentially draft? I am a draft geek. Speaking of the draft, how about this trade – Benny and the 4th overall pick to Vancouver for the 5th and 10th overall picks. We drop one spot, pick-up an extra top 10 pick; Whitecaps still get a top 5 pick plus an established passer & playmaker who will have a finisher to feed in Kenny Miller who could use a MF of Benny’s caliber.

  8. W Peter Jones

    November 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    BENNY IS OVERATED & OVER PAID $450.00 + (A DUD) is a lot of money when you are not producing,???????? Gavin seems to be injury prone.- Lets hope the Revs pick up a Goalkeeper in the Draft or a trade we will have a three way compertion with Reis and Shuttleworth which is a good for the Revs

  9. John

    December 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Benny had a lousy year, and he probably deserved to have his option declined. However, I still have a problem with the underlying fact that the people making player decisions are the same ones who have been in charge, and making the same mistakes, for years. Add to that a coach who has no experience. I have no confidence in management with regards to evaluating or, heck, motivating talent.

  10. Brian

    December 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    RSL cleared a ton of money off their cap today. Benny would be a really good fit there based upon the style of play, the pitch and the supporting cast. I wonder what the possibilities are burns is already in discussions with them about trading Benny’s rights…

  11. Mat

    December 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    If that happened, what do you think we would get in return? Ah, I love the transaction talk

  12. Brian O'Connell

    December 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Idk about Benny in Salt Lake…with RSL purging their roster of high-priced talent, Benny, at $450K, probably isn’t an attractive option for the RSL front office. Salary aside, though, a Beckerman-Feilhaber partnership would be an intriguing one, no?

  13. Brian O'Connell

    December 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    The way I understand it, the Revs will most certainly ask any trading partner to absorb the entire cost. However, if the market isn’t active, they can either absorb a portion of the cost themselves, or buy his contract out. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Revs ended up having to eat some of his salary to move him.

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