Dax McCarty was a year away from potentially becoming one of the jewels of the 2017 MLS free agent class, but the New York Red Bulls have stepped up to ensure the influential midfielder will call Red Bull Arena home for a long time.
The Red Bulls have signed McCarty to a new four-year contract, sources confirmed to Goal USA on Monday.
The deal comes just as McCarty was heading toward what would have been the final season of his contract. A Best XI selection in 2015, McCarty is coming off a career year that saw him record a career-high eight assists as he anchored the Red Bulls' impressive midfield on the way to the club's second Supporters' Shield in three years.
The 28-year-old midfielder had been the subject of trade speculation in the past year, with Orlando City believed to be interested in dealing for the local product.
Signing McCarty to a new deal will keep the Red Bulls from being at risk of losing him for nothing after the 2016 season. McCarty would have become eligible for free agency had he let his contract expire.
Major League Soccer's new collective bargaining agreement helped create a form of free agency for veteran players with a minimum of eight years in MLS who are at least 28 years old. Justin Mapp, Mike Magee, Drew Moor and Jeff Larentowicz are just some of the players who have made moves, or are in the process of signing deals, as part of the first MLS free agent class.