JACK Watts has been encouraged by Melbourne to look at continuing his career at a rival club, despite being contracted to the Demons for another two years.
Watts, 26, is on the outer at the club at which he's played 153 games since being drafted with the No.1 overall pick at the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, and also with coach Simon Goodwin.
Goodwin said while Watts would be welcome to stay at the club, it could be a mutually beneficial move if he was to leave.
"Absolutely, we encouraged him to go and explore his options, and to see what other opportunities may be out there," Goodwin told Channel Seven.
"But at the same time, if nothing can happen and he comes back to the Melbourne footy club, we're happy for that as well."
Adding to the intrigue surrounding Watts' future is the fact he was spotted arriving in Adelaide this week.
He's already been linked to Port Adelaide, having reportedly met with Port during his visit to South Australia.
Goodwin said dialogue between the club and player about the prospect of him leaving had come from both directions.
"We've had some really open conversations with Jack," he said.
"We're happy for him to come back into the footy club, but he's also looking to explore some options elsewhere, and we're really comfortable with that.
"There's been a lot of speculation about Jack over a long time with his career, and we want the best for both parties as well."
Former Melbourne champion Garry Lyon recently said it was time for the Demons to move on Watts.
"I think the time's past where they would keep him," Lyon said on SEN.
"I thought that this opportunity may have been there two years ago.
"He'd be one, where clubs can look at and say, 'Let's be aggressive on this'."
Watts signed a three-year contract extension with Melbourne in July last year, but played just 16 games this season because of a hamstring injury and a late spell in the VFL.
He was also left out of the Demons' first two JLT Community Series games after failing to impress during pre-season training.