TORONTO, Ont.,—Toronto FC have officially sent the rights to attacker Nicolas Benezet to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM), with the possibility of an additional $50,000 in performance bonuses.
Benezet, who became a free agent on Jan. 1, still had to be traded to in order to sign a new contract with the Rapids, as the Reds still owned the former Guingamp player’s MLS rights.
After signing captain Michael Bradley to a targeted allocation money (TAM) contract last month, Toronto FC president Bill Manning made it clear at the time that it would be difficult to bring Benezet back, unless the TAM-signing were willing to take significantly less than his $600,000 USD salary last season.
Thus, the Reds elected not to activate the $500,000 purchase clause on Benezet’s loan deal from Ligue 2 side Guingamp, officially making him a free agent at the end of the year.
However, the 28-year-old only had a small taste of North American soccer, appearing in just 13 matches for TFC in all competitions last season—and was not happy with his abrupt departure from Toronto—so it makes sense to see Benezet pursue another MLS deal.
Since joining the Reds on July 29, Benezet scored three goals in limited action, highlighted by this curling effort against Atlanta United that sent Toronto to the MLS Cup Final.
According to MLSsoccer.com, the french winger, who has the ability to play across the front line, was impressed by how serious Colorado was about signing him, as well as the history he has with former Toronto FC assistant—and now-Rapids head coach—Robin Fraser, who joined the Rocky Mountain side on Aug. 25.
Benezet will also be very familiar with former TFC teammate Drew Moor, who re-joined Colorado this offseason after spending the past four years in Toronto.
This is the second time this season that Toronto FC have acquired GAM for a player. In their first move of the offseason, the Reds sent Canadian international and homegrown signing Jay Chapman to expansion side Inter Miami CF in exchange for $100,00 in GAM.