COLLINGWOOD forward Jamie Elliott is off this year's free agency list after quietly triggering a third year on his contract, while high-flying defender Jeremy Howe has also extended his deal with the club.

Elliott considered a move to Brisbane at the end of 2019 as a free agent and toured the Lions' facilities before deciding to remain with the Magpies. He had also been courted by Melbourne during that off-season. 

He signed a two-year contract that was due to expire at the end of this season, when he would again reach free agency, but as AFL.com.au revealed this week in its exclusive list of 2021 free agents, Elliott has hit a trigger clause to extend his deal through to the end of 2022.

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The 28-year-old played 18 games last season and finished seventh in the club's best and fairest award and has impressed since rejoining Collingwood's training over the pre-season.

The Pies have three free agents this year, headed by Scott Pendlebury, Chris Mayne and Josh Thomas

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Mayne qualifies under the 'free agency for life' rule, meaning he will be a free agent at the end of every contract having originally crossed to Collingwood as a free agent from Fremantle at the end of 2016. 

Under the AFL's rules, players who have been delisted automatically become free agents, seeing Thomas be eligible having been cut in 2015 when hit with his anti-doping ban. 

Josh Thomas working hard in the pre-season. Picture: Getty Images / AFL Photos

Midfielder Steele Sidebottom was also due to come out of contract at the end of this season, which would have seen him qualify for free agency, after he signed a five-year deal in 2016.

But he extended it to a sixth season through to the end of 2022 as one of several Magpies who smoothed out their contracts as the club looked to ease its salary cap squeeze.

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The Pies have also locked away Howe for a further season. The dynamic defender last year added another year to his contract, tying him to the end of 2022.

Having crossed from Melbourne at the end of 2015 through a trade, Howe had not served enough years with the Pies to qualify as a free agent but was due to fall out of contract at the end of this season before the extension.