ESSENDON’S bid for free agent Brendon Goddard has left the future of several Bombers uncertain, as the club needs sufficient space in its salary cap to accommodate the St Kilda star.
The Bombers are poised with a four-year contract offer for Goddard, which will exceed St Kilda's recent three-year offer, but some contracts can’t be settled until they know how much space is available in the club’s total player payments (TPP).
While David Myers is close to agreeing on a new deal, three players — Alwyn Davey, Scott Gumbleton and David Hille — remain unsigned, having been offered one-year contracts. Gumbleton holds some interest for Fremantle, which is thought to be out of the running for Travis Cloke.
The Dons are in discussions with Leroy Jetta’s management about an extension and remain confident he will be re-signed.
Essendon has not offered contracts to Sam Lonergan, Brent Prismall, Ricky Dyson or Henry Slattery — some of whom might be under pressure to retain their spots on the list.
Forward Angus Monfries is understood to have a four-year offer from Port Adelaide as a free agent signing. Essendon’s pursuit of Goddard, obviously, may affect whether it can retain Monfries.
Essendon’s position is becoming the norm under the new free agency landscape, in which clubs cannot give some players contracts until they know whether they are acquiring a free agent; if it is a player of Goddard’s worth, potentially paid $700,000 a season or more, then room has to be made.
The rules also decree that clubs cannot table an official offer for a free agent like Goddard or Cloke until Monday. The club with a free agent has three days in which to match the offer — preventing him from leaving by that method.
Some within the football industry are frustrated that free agent offers cannot be made until Monday, given that this will hold up other players and their futures, though some at club level say this is the consequence of the new system — that players have greater freedom, with less security.
Carlton has not re-contracted Brock McLean, for instance, despite his vast improvement this year, partly because of its pursuit of Cloke, while Collingwood still has four premiership players out of contract — Cloke, Sharrod Wellingham, Tyson Goldsack and Harry O'Brien, with Cloke obviously the major deal that can affect the TPP available to others and to any player(s) it wishes to bring in.
St Kilda is highly unlikely to pursue a free agent from another club in the event that Goddard leaves for the Bombers, given that it would likely receive a first-round pick, which the Saints would rather use to improve their list, rather than reducing the compensation by signing a free agent.