Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio now listed as a designated player, helping salary cap
TORONTO — Canadian midfielder Jonathan Osorio has joined Italian stars Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi as a designated player on Toronto FC's books.
It's purely an accounting move with nothing changing in the three-year contact, with an option for 2026, that Osorio signed in December. Making him a designated player gives TFC more room in its salary cap budget.
Under MLS rules, a DP aged at least 24 only counts for US$651,250 against the salary cap — regardless off what he is being paid.
Osorio, who made $1.026 million last season, downplayed the move to DP.
"It means nothing," said the 30-year-old, who leads the franchise with 320 appearances in all competitions. "It's just a way of a team working around the salary cap."
Bob Bradley, who doubles as TFC's head coach and sporting director, said making Osorio a DP came at the beginning of tis season when the club had to be salary-compliant. But the news was not disclosed until this week when team president Bill Manning dropped it in an interview.
"Using him in that way at the moment allows us just to have a little more flexibility with how we put together the rest of the roster," said Bradley, citing the addition of free-agent goalkeeper Sean Johnson and centre back Matt Hedges.
Insigne was the highest-paid player in the league last season at $14 million, although he would have received less since he arrived midway through the year. Bernardeschi's salary of $6.26 million, which ranked fourth in the league, would also be pro-rated.
The MLS Players Association has yet to release its salary figures this year.
The league's salary budget this season is $5.21million, which can be spread among 18 to 20 players on a team's senior roster. Aside from the designated player rule, the league has other ways for clubs to get more bang for their buck with allocation money, both general and targeted, allowing them to buy down salary costs on the books.
Toronto could remove the DP status from Osorio to sign a new designated player, if it could make the salary cap numbers fit. But Bradley has said all along that the club does not intend to sign another big-ticket DP like the Italians, with a young DP a possibility.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Match 10, 2023.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press