ONE CHANGE will be made to free agency before the end of October under the new collective bargaining agreement announced on Tuesday.
A new provision will be added to free agency from three possible options agreed upon during the negotiations.
The most likely option at this stage is free agency for life, which would allow players who change clubs as free agents to remain as free agents when they next come out of contract.
If this provision was adopted, players such as Hawthorn's James Frawley would become a free agent again in 2018 despite being at the Hawks for just four seasons, having switched from Melbourne ahead of the 2015 season after eight years at the Demons.
New CBA could spark flood of player re-signings
A second option is to make free agency portable, meaning players who switch clubs before being eligible for free agency will still qualify once their length of service in the game reaches the criteria.
This would mean players such as Collingwood's Levi Greenwood would be eligible for free agency when they come out of contract at the end of 2018.
The third option would see restricted free agency apply at four years for any players who are under a median salary, a move clubs would be expected to fiercely resist.
Clubs are not only concerned about the time invested in developing players during their first four seasons but also argue that players are able to move under the existing trade system.
The compromise is a win for clubs who were opposed to dramatic loosening of the free agency provisions, fearing the AFLPA wanted to reduce the number of years it took before players became eligible.
The current eligibility rules around tenure remained at 10 years and eight years with one minor change. Players who have not signed contracts within the previous two years will be able to become unrestricted free agents if they qualify as such, rather than having to become restricted free agents as per the existing rules.
The previous system was thought to deter players from signing long-term contracts before free agency.
Restricted free agents in 2017 such as Richmond's Dustin Martin and Fremantle's Nat Fyfe remain in that category, meaning their clubs can match any offer made to them from another club at the end of the season.