WILL Lance Franklin fulfil the remaining five years of his contract with Sydney?

And, if he does, will his rare powers have waned considerably by the final year or two of that deal?

Last month, the Swans farewelled fellow big-name tall Kurt Tippett three years before his latest contract was due to expire. Sydney signed Tippett in late 2012, a year before Franklin, but the 30-year-old was forced to retire because of chronic ankle injuries. 

The Swans shocked the rest of the competition when they lured Franklin from Hawthorn with a nine-year, $10 million free-agency offer.

At the time, many openly doubted whether Franklin would complete that deal, noting he would be 35 and facing his 18th AFL season in the contract's final year.

The Swans are justifiably thrilled with the return ‘Buddy' has given them in his first four seasons, when he has remained the competition's most spectacular and damaging key forward.

But success of the Franklin deal can't be truly judged until we see what its seventh, eighth and ninth years produce.

Franklin's body remains sounder than Tippett's. But the forward, who turned 31 on Tuesday, has had a delayed start to his 14th pre-season after undergoing surgery on both knees and an ankle.

Swans coach John Longmire was non-committal this week when asked by AFL.com.au whether he thought Franklin could fulfil his contract, saying he found it pointless to look that far ahead.

But the premiership coach said the four-time Coleman medallist had yet to show any signs his lethal mix of pace, agility and endurance was on the slide.

"He has such a big, big frame and he had both knees and an ankle done at the end of last year, so those are challenges he's been playing with for a little bit. He had them cleaned up and that's been really successful and he feels really good about that," Longmire said. 

"He looked after himself over summer and did a lot of boxing and off-legs training while he couldn't run. But then when he was able to get back to running he picked it up pretty quickly.

"The way he trained this week he still looked all right, and hopefully he keeps going that way."

Longmire believed people outside the Swans did not understand how much Franklin still loved football, saying the veteran had relished playing alongside the youngsters injected into the Swans' forward line last season.

"He played an incredible season last year again. He sets really high standards, he loves playing with our younger players, whether it's Tom Papley or Will Hayward," the coach said.

"We had a really young forward line last year and a lot of weeks there was Franklin, (Sam) Reid and then kids around them. He really enjoys that, really feeds off the energy the young boys provide and they love playing with him.

"He really loves footy, he watches a lot of it. He understands the game, he can smell talent, and when young kids come in who can play he picks up on it really quickly."

In Franklin's four seasons with the Swans, he has led their goalkicking every year, kicking 280 goals at an average 3.15 a game, essentially on par with his career average of 3.17.

Remarkably, he has done this while having a greater impact further up the ground. Over the past two years, Franklin has averaged a career-high 4.8 inside 50s a game, a staggering 50 per cent up on his career average, 3.2.

He has also won more of the ball than ever before, averaging 17.2 possessions a game compared to a career average of 15.7.