Brazil's Julio Cesar joins Toronto FC on full-season loan

Robert Cianflone

After joining Queens Park Rangers on a reported salary of about $4 million a year, it's a mystery how TFC could possibly fit him under the MLS salary cap at less than a Designated Player's wages.

That Toronto FC unveiled Julio Cesar as their latest high-profile signing on Friday was not a huge revelation. Brazil's starting goalkeeper has been rumored to be joining TFC for several weeks. But the assumption had always been that the only way Cesar -- who reportedly made the equivalent of about $4 million a year at Queens Park Rangers -- could possibly fit within the constraints of Major League Soccer's salary cap was if this was a short-term loan, likely set to expire just before this summer's World Cup.

During Cesar's introductory press-conference, though, it was revealed that the 34-year-old would be joining TFC on a season-long loan despite the team already having four DPs on the roster (Matias Laba will reportedly need to be moved before the March 1 roster compliance deadline). How is this possible? That's a question many are already asking, but something for which we're unlikely to get a clear answer anytime soon.

The seemingly most plausible explanation is that QPR has agreed to pay the vast majority of Cesar's salary. Although Cesar joined the team as a starter after signing a four-year deal in August 2012, he has hardly played since QPR was relegated with Robert Green retaking the position. QPR has reportedly been trying to move Cesar ever since, but his salary seems to ahve been a major stumbling block.

Given that, it's at least within the realm of possibility that Toronto FC's offer was better than whatever else was out there. While QPR would still be stuck with his salary, Cesar is at least getting minutes and possibly able to raise his stock enough to make a permanent move possible in the future.

Despite Cesar's inability to get regular time with QPR, he has remained a fixture within Brazil's team and is on pace to be their starter during this summer's World Cup. Although this loan is scheduled to be for the entire year -- and Cesar told reporters he intended to return after the summer tournament -- it's hard to imagine that winning the World Cup wouldn't lead to some offers that beg consideration.

In the meantime, though, Cesar should be a major help to a Toronto FC defense that was in need of significant overhaul after allowing the fifth most goals in MLS a year ago. TFC has also added Bradley Orr -- another former QPR player -- and MLS veteran Justin Morrow. If fellow high-profile offseason acquisitions Gilberto, Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe can improve the offense as much as expected, TFC may just have a MLS Cup contender on their hands.

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