Lance Franklin's extraordinary nine-year, $10 million contract offer to join Sydney will see him paid a relatively low amount in his first years at the club while Kurt Tippett's sizeable contract tapers down.
The Swans are understood to have stretched the Franklin contract over nine years and structured it with relatively lower payments in the early years to allow them to afford Franklin and Tippett.
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The GWS Giants have withdrawn their bid for Lance Franklin with the knowledge he will accept an offer from the Sydney Swans.
The AFL has launched an investigation into the Swans' audacious contract offer, observing that no contract is allowed to be made to a player until the free agency window opens on Friday.
''As part of the review process by the AFL's Legal, Integrity and Compliance Department, key people involved in the proposed Franklin arrangement - at this stage a non-binding offer of a nine-year deal - will be interviewed in the coming days to ensure any agreements, arrangements or understandings that are to be entered into are in accordance with the AFL Rules and are not in breach of Rules relating to conduct prejudicial to the Draft, Player Movement Rules and/or the Total Player Payments provisions,'' AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said.
The bold move by the Swans, which blindsided Greater Western Sydney with an offer that is significantly bigger than their proposed deal of $1.2 million a year for six years, will still only see Hawthorn receive a compensatory first-round pick for the free agent.
The Franklin compensation pick would be after its first round selection in the draft, which would make it pick 18, but that would be likely to become pick 19 if Dale Thomas went to Carlton as a free agent and Collingwood received pick 11 as its compensation.
An AFL spokesman said the extraordinary length of the Swans' contract offer would not mean compensation could be greater than the pick following the club's first-round draft pick.
Hawthorn has been exploring ways of improving the compensation for Franklin but it would appear that could only be achieved if he were to be traded to the Swans rather than go as a free agent. The Swans are yet to re-sign premiership ruckman Shane Mumford, a player the Hawks had identified as a recruiting target, and he could form part of talks.
The Swans are expected to need to make room in their salary cap. Jesse White has told the club he wants to be traded to a Victorian club - probably Collingwood - and Mumford and young former first-round draft pick Jed Lamb are still unsigned. Mumford has not been offered a contract.
The Franklin contract would be the longest for a player since the Lions signed Alastair Lynch to a $1million, 10-year deal.
AFL clubs, already upset at the Sydney clubs' generous cost of living allowance which gives each of the two clubs almost an extra $1million a year in the salary cap to retain players, were irate at the latest move. The league said on Tuesday it was reviewing the cost-of-living allowance, along with all club and player allowances.
Giants CEO David Matthews said the club would never have stretched to the sorts of terms on offer by the Swans. ''We put forward what we believed to be both a sensible and attractive offer to Franklin. Contrary to media reports, that offer was $1.2 million a year over six years,'' he said.
The Giants were upset that they had not been informed during negotiations with Franklin that there was another club in similar serious negotiations.