Lengthy and protracted contract negotiations between Alastair Clarkson and Hawthorn are virtually complete with the four-time premiership coach to remain at the club until the end of 2019 and potentially longer.
Clarkson's historic new three-year deal — his current contract takes him to the end of this season — is estimated at $4 million before performance bonuses and places him second only behind Kevin Sheedy in terms of modern day club-coach partnerships.
It is understood negotiations have been stalled in part over the details surrounding a trigger clause for a fourth season taking Clarkson through until the end of 2020. That fourth-year option could still be placed in the deal. The financial settlement sees the coach earning significantly less than he could elsewhere with the Hawks steadfast in refusing to exceed the AFL-imposed soft cap on football department spending.
Both parties have privately denied suggestions that the new Clarkson deal was worth $1.5 million annually. The annual figure is believed to be closer to $1.3 million.
The Hawks are close to formally announcing the new deal which in 2017 will take Clarkson past John Kennedy as the club's longest-serving coach and see the 47-year-old secured in a parallel deal with Cyril Rioli, the only Hawk contracted through to the end of 2019.
With Richmond on the verge of announcing a two-year extension to coach Damien Hardwick, Leon Cameron extended by the Giants until the end of 2018 and Collingwood's Nathan Buckley signing a one-year extension, only Brisbane's Justin Leppitsch remains without a prospective new contract offer.
Hardwick and Cameron are two of five former Clarkson assistants to move into senior coaching roles with Fremantle securing further Hawthorn intelligence over the pre-season in hiring retired Hawk players David Hale and Brett Guerra and placing them in junior assistant coaching roles.
Contract talks between the two parties began last May, but were placed on hold due to dissatisfaction on both sides.
Clarkson was unhappy with the terms surrounding the Hawks' initial two-year contract offer and the Hawks had concerns following the coach's clash with drunken hecklers in Adelaide after a game against Port Adelaide.
Talks were placed on hold but have now virtually concluded with Clarkson to sign a fifth contract with the club he joined in 2005.
With one year left on his deal, Fairfax Media understands Clarkson will either sign a new three-year extension with the option of a fourth or a straight four-year deal taking the 47-year-old into a 16-year partnership with the club he joined with little fanfare back in 2005.
Hawthorn initially entertained a two-year contract extension in July after some misgivings about the coach emanating from the post-game incident in Adelaide in May.
Key lieutenants Chris Fagan (football), Andrew Russell (fitness) and Graham Wright (recruiting) were re-signed in 2015 and will stay at Hawthorn until the end of 2018.