As we move forward in this offseason discussion here on Big D Soccer, we figured it would be wise to look at the players with options on their contracts to discuss whether or not we want them back with FC Dallas in 2015. For the second straight year we're going with the Roman theme of thumbs up or thumbs down for this series.
Next in our debate is a look at veteran defender and one of the guys that has been around the club the longest, Jair Benitez.
Benitez certainly saw his minutes go down in a big way in 2014. The veteran fullback didn't spend a lot of time hurt like other players did in the season but instead just saw his minutes shrink likely due to his age. He certainly lost a step or two as Moises Hernandez and other players stepped up during the year.
Jason Poon pulled up Benitez's numbers for 2014 and compared them to a year ago.
2013: 31 apps (18 full games, 10 games subbed off, 3 games subbed on)
2014: 26 apps (13 full games, 6 game subbed off, 7 games subbed on)
2013: 76% passing accuracy
2014: 73% passing accuracy
2013: 62 int, 81 clearances, 8 blocks
2014: 37 int, 35 clearances, 5 blocks
Everything went down in 2014 though I would say the biggest thing that went down as well was the craziness that Benitez would also bring to the table. He went from being a card machine to being a fairly smart defensive player when he was on the field. Not to mention his cap hit these days isn't that bad either as he made just a hair over $101k. For a veteran option, that isn't bad with all things considered.
I used to be way against this guy on the team. He brought a lot of dumb fouls and just overall craziness to the team early on in his playing days here. Or as former head coach Schellas Hyndman called it, he lacked emotional intelligence. But those days are thankfully behind him as I said, it got rid of a lot of craziness and became a fairly stable player under Oscar Pareja in 2014.
But we're throwing this to you to vote on, do you keep Benitez at his going rate or pat him on the back and say farewell.