Paul Chapman has become an Essendon player, agreeing to terms with the Bombers as a free agent. Chapman, 32, will be reunited with his former coach Mark Thompson on an incentive-based deal in which he can earn a second season.
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Chapman was moved on by Geelong as the club pursued a youth policy, but was keen to continue his playing career and had discussions with a number of clubs, including Carlton, which baulked at the asking price. The signing of Chapman by Essendon is a reflection of the Bombers' belief that it can contend for a top-four spot and also of the fact that the Dons needed to recruit players without early draft picks, due to AFL penalties.
Chapman's performances this year were strong. He booted four goals in his last game for the Cats, in the semi-final against Port Adelaide, but soft-tissue injuries kept him grounded for much of the season, hence Essendon's wish for an incentives-based contract. The Bombers are also expected to gain the Western Bulldogs' second-round pick, currently No.22, in return for Stewart Crameri, with the clubs discussing a potential swap of picks in a later round.
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