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Jackson was a Versitile Player, But Ultimately Cost Too Much

Earlier this week Toronto FC didn't pick up the option on midfielder Jackson, for a franchise that needs more cap flexibility it made complete sense.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Toronto FC declined to pick up the options on the contracts of goalkeepers, Joe Bendik and Chris Konopka as well as midfielders, Manny Aparicio and Jackson.  That doesn't necessarily mean that those players, outside of Aparicio, can't negotiate new deals with the reds, but it seems unlikely that any of them will return to Toronto.

Enough ink has been spilled regarding the goalkeeping last season. Both keepers were constantly under pressure while between the sticks, hampered by a porous backline in front of them and ultimately they proved to be little more than adequate.

Moving forward, Toronto FC will be scouring around looking for a proven starter.  Former Orlando City keeper, Tally Hall's name has floated around as an option after the Lions didn't pick up the option on his contract.  Hall, now 30 has a wealth of MLS experience, but is a bit of a gamble in terms of fitness.  A knee injury brought a premature end to his 2015 season.

TFC will also hope for bigger contributions from Brampton native, Quillan Roberts and 2015 SuperDraft first rounder, Alex Bono to step forward and grab the backup keeper role.

Jackson is also on his way out the door after two years with TFC. The Brazilian midfielder is a victim of his own nearly $200,000 guaranteed compensation for 2015. His contract was fifth highest on the team (outside of the Designated Players) behind on Damien Perquis, Robbie Findley, whose expiring contract was also jettisoned this week, Benoit Cheyrou and Luke Moore.

Jackson's compensation level is just too much for a player who has struggled to stay fit during his time at BMO Field. He only appeared in 52 games over two seasons with Toronto, contributing just five goals.  He possesses a fair amount of pace, but far too often his final touch was lacking.

His versatility will be missed. Jackson is most at home as a box to box midfielder but was slotted into a fullback role a number of times this year to compensate for a rash of injuries on the backline. He had been used as a fullback at times during his tenure with FC Dallas, so it wasn't a massive stretch for him to take on that role.

The switch to fullback yielded mixed results.  At times he looked fully capable of handling the right back position.  Then there were horror days like the playoff nightmare against the Impact. Ignacio Piatti terrorised Jackson during a first half onslaught that left TFC reeling, down 3-0 before the halftime whistle. It was Jackson miscalculating a Nigel Reo-Coker pass that left Piatti free in acres of space to easily set up Patrice Bernier's floodgate opener in the eighteenth minute.

Jackson is a serviceable utility player. He's a decent midfielder off the bench, but his fitness struggles and lack of dependability make it prohibitive for him to be a fixture in the starting XI.  He should only be used as a fullback in emergency situations.  Quality attacking players have shown an ability to eat him up defensively.

The return on investment for TFC from Jackson simply isn't good enough to keep him around. Justin Morrow earned a larger piece of the Toronto FC salary cap pie with his play in 2015. Fans should rejoice that Morrow is back with the reds next season, but that means that Toronto needed to shed some salary. Jackson's contract option allowed TFC to shed his bloated payroll hit. Letting Jackson go was the right move to make for a club that has too often improperly allocated its limited resources on the wrong players.

Some fans might miss Jackson, but it will be for a short time. He wasn't a part of the core of this team. The money freed up by his departure gives TFC the ability to spend some money filling some of the defensive holes that were so apparent last season.