COLLINGWOOD has opened early contract negotiations with wingman Tom Phillips following a career-best year in which he played every match.
Phillips, 22, is set to fall out of contract at the end of 2019 but the Pies hope to lock him away him away before the start of next season.
One of seven Pies to feature in all 26 games including the Pies' Grand Final loss to West Coast, Phillips claimed his fourth consecutive club 2km time trial victory on Monday.
RUNNING MAN Pies' time-trial king wins again
Industry sources suggest a player of Phillips' quality – he averaged 25.5 disposals a match in 2018 – could command up to $550,000 or $600,000 a season on the open market.
Phillips, who has now played 50 games in his three seasons at the Pies, led the club with an average of 441 metres gained this year.
Another intriguing aspect of his talks for a new deal will come as agent Alex McDonald negotiates with former colleague Ned Guy, who enters his second year as the Magpies' list boss.
It comes after a busy period of list management for the Pies where they worked through prolonged discussions to retain Darcy Moore (until end of 2020) and Tom Langdon (2021) at the club.
At the same time, they secured returning premiership star Dayne Beams, who added two more years to the remaining two years of contract at Brisbane, tying him to the Pies until the end of 2022.
As a result, the club is reportedly set to deal with its bulging salary cap by extending the contracts of Steele Sidebottom and Will Hoskin-Elliott, who share the same management firm as Beams – Connors Sports.
The Pies also locked away Jordan De Goey, Josh Thomas, James Aish, Brody Mihocek and Matt Scharenberg to multi-year extensions this year but they have more key out-of-contract players to negotiate with in 2019.
Vice-captain Taylor Adams headlines a list that includes Jack Crisp and Brayden Sier, who require new deals by the end of next year.