AFL CHAMPION Brendon Goddard has urged "deep-thinker" Zach Merrett to weigh up his options when free agency opens later this year.
Merrett, who is uncontracted at the Bombers beyond this year, will be one of the highest-profile names up for grabs in this year's Trade Period as clubs circle the dual Crichton medallist.
Suitors for the 2017 All-Australian also came chasing last year.
One of the first players to exercise his free agency rights, Goddard knows all too well the situation former-teammate and close friend Merrett finds himself in, moving from St Kilda to Essendon after 10 years and 205 games.
But the former Essendon captain believes there are specific things the 25yo will be looking for as the Bombers season progresses to help with his decision.
"It's only natural to go down that path. In today's current climate players are testing the market, teams are well more prepared, they're talking to players earlier," Goddard, who was at Blairlogie Living and Learning as part of the Toyota Good for Footy program, said.
"I know the situation he is in. He's clear on what he wants to see, he's a very deep thinker of the game, very analytical."
A high-profile recruit for the Bombers, the weight of expectation to perform instantaneously was something Goddard had to deal with, and something he says may be plaguing another off-season mover, Bradley Hill.
"You don't blame guys moving clubs and getting big pay, that's great, I think there's just extra expectation now that when you are one of the highest-paid players at the footy club.
"It's just more about getting a kick and the microscope is obviously on you as soon as you arrive.
"I was consistently trying too hard and that was affecting my footy so maybe it's a point in his career and this season that he just lets go and gets out of his own way."
Nineteen players have moved clubs through free agency in the previous two years, something Goddard believes will happen more frequently.
"As you get older as players you understand that it is more than a business than when you first arrived at the footy club."
"The quicker fans get their head around that, the better the players will feel about leaving clubs and it'll be easier."
Goddard joined former North Melbourne champion Brent Harvey to deliver merchandise and a footy clinic to Blairlogie Living and Learning in Melbourne's south-east, after a staff member at the school made the request through the Toyota Suggestion Box. The visit was part of the Toyota Good for Footy campaign.
You can make a suggestion now at Toyota.com.au/gooder.