Citing multiple sources, Dyer advises the Red Bulls have completed the formality of extending Parker a “bona fide offer” - essentially protecting their negotiations from unwanted distractions like the MLS Re-Entry Draft. Dyer’s understanding is the team is expecting to use Targeted Allocation Money for the deal it is negotiating with Parker, indicating the player will be paid above the league-mandated maximum budget charge ($504, 375 in 2018).
Re-signing Parker is the clear immediate priority for the RBNY off-season. With Parker on board for 2019, the team would have all four of its preferred starting defenders (Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence, and Michael Murillo) under contract for next season. The Red Bulls’ back line was arguably its greatest strength in its record-setting MLS 2018 regular-season campaign, allowing the fewest goals of any team in the league (33).
If RBNY proved unable to reach an agreement with Parker, it would need another starting center-back for the new season - and currently there are only two specialists at the position on the teams roster: Long and Hassan Ndam. With Parker signed up for 2019, RBNY will still need to add CBs to the roster, but the urgency of finding a proven starting-caliber player to fill the position is reduced.
Also, given the long-standing expectation that Parker would require a relatively large contract, completing negotiations with him is an important step toward RBNY understanding what resources it will have to apply to filling out the rest of the roster for 2019.
The Red Bulls’ off-season is underway, but sporting director Denis Hamlett won’t be entirely certain of his team’s priorities and resources for the roster-building task ahead until the question of Parker’s return to RBNY is resolved. Having the center-back in the squad for 2019 and beyond would be better news than needing to find a new starter on the back line, but any resolution to uncertainty over such a key part of the squad will be positive for the Red Bulls.