THE TRADE that sent Jack Watts to Port Adelaide wouldn't have been struck if Melbourne hadn't agreed to pay a portion of the forward's wage, says Melbourne CEO Peter Jackson.

Watts met with Port, Geelong and Sydney after Melbourne put him on the trade table at the end of a 2017 season where he finished 21st in the Demons' best and fairest award.

Speaking on Tuesday morning, Jackson revealed the Power were the only one of those teams to make a serious offer for the 2008 No.1 pick, and as part of the deal the Demons needed to pay some of the 26-year-old's contract in exchange for pick No.31 in November's NAB AFL Draft.

"It's not a lot - over the total two years of his remaining contract it's about 15 per cent," Jackson told SEN. 

"The only football club that spoke to us about a deal in any real terms was Port Adelaide. 

"Geelong made an enquiry and the offer they were mooting, we would have been crucified by Melbourne supporters if we had have accepted that. 

"There was (just) one club making one offer at the end of the day, (and) I think that does say something." 

Jackson admitted "350 to 400" Melbourne fans had contacted the club to air their anger at the trade, but he said the Demons had to become more ruthless in their quest to end a flag drought that stretches back to 1964. 

He said a change of scenery may allow Watts to become the elite player he was expected to become after being a No.1 draft pick. 

"Jack's not a ruthless guy, he's not a ruthless person when he plays football, he's a great guy, we all love him," Jackson said.

"I think there's a strong argument that he might be better off where he's in another place and not Jack Watts at the Melbourne Football Club, where he's just another player. 

"He hasn't been that No.1 draft pick, his performance and stats don't indicate he was a No.1 draft pick, and if he wasn't, there wouldn't be that pressure on him.

"I think (the move) is a good thing for him."