Every Thursday AFL.com.au presents Inside Trading, with breaking news and the best analysis of the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period covering contracts, re-signings, free agents, the NAB AFL Draft and industry insights.
RICHMOND FREE AGENT SET FOR DEAL
TIGERS wingman Kamdyn McIntosh is closing in on a new multi-year deal.
The two-time premiership player is an unrestricted free agent and would have been able to automatically move to another club without Richmond being able to match an offer.
However, McIntosh will extend his stay at Tigerland with what is expected to be a two or three-year deal as Richmond whittles down its list of unsigned flag winners.
The 27-year-old has missed the past three weeks with a hamstring injury he suffered in round 18 against Brisbane but remains a central member of Richmond's midfield unit and has played 16 games this year.
The West Australian featured in the Tigers' breakthrough 2017 flag, missed their 2019 triumph but won back his place in Richmond's line-up last year for its Grand Final win over Geelong at the Gabba.
Defenders David Astbury and Bachar Houli remain as unrestricted free agents at Richmond, as well as Mabior Chol, who is attracting rival interest. The Tigers last week signed star midfielder Shai Bolton to a two-year deal, with triple-premiership player Daniel Rioli out of contract at the end of this year. – Callum Twomey
VETERAN BLUE SIGNS ON
MIDFIELDER Ed Curnow has won a fresh contract to extend his career at Carlton into a 12th season.
In the same week Marc Murphy announced he will play his 300th and final game this Saturday, Curnow has committed to a new one-year deal.
Curnow, 31, celebrated his 200th match milestone last month and is one of only four Blues to play every match in 2021 alongside Sam Walsh, Adam Saad and Jacob Weitering. The durable onballer has also missed just one game in the past four seasons.
With Zac Williams' recruitment as a midfielder short-lived before his move to half-back, Curnow has attended the third-most centre bounces of any teammate behind Patrick Cripps and Walsh in 2021.
The Geelong Falcons product could yet start next year as the club's oldest player following Murphy's (34) retirement and with Eddie Bett's (34) future still to be decided.
The Blues are targeting extra midfield firepower this off-season to provide added support for Curnow, Cripps, Walsh and Paddy Dow, and have shown interest in out-of-contract Docker Adam Cerra and Sydney restricted free agent George Hewett. – Mitch Cleary
PREMIERSHIP DOG EXTENDS STAY AT THE KENNEL
WESTERN Bulldogs defender Zaine Cordy has hit a trigger for a one-year contract extension which will tie him to the club until the end of 2022.
Cordy was due to come out of contract but has recently quietly extended his deal by an extra year which will take him through to being a free agent next season.
The premiership player last re-signed with the club in 2018 for a three-year deal which was due to expire this year.
The 24-year-old played his 100th game for the club on Sunday in the Bulldogs' loss to Essendon having played 15 games this season after overcoming an ankle injury that he suffered in the club's elimination final loss to St Kilda last year.
Cordy joined the Bulldogs as a father-son selection at the 2014 NAB AFL Draft following his brother Ayce as joining the club where their father Brian played 124 games between 1981-88.
Cordy has developed into a reliable and competitive key defender having famously switched forward in the Dogs' fairytale run to their 2016 flag. – Callum Twomey
MORE MAJAK? ROOKIE LIFELINES TO LAND EXTENDED DEALS
NORTH Melbourne is closing in on an extension for exciting tall Jacob Edwards, while St Kilda is poised to re-sign fellow NAB AFL Mid-Season Draftee Cooper Sharman.
Edwards, taken with pick No.1 in the June intake, joined the Roos on a six-month contract but talks will soon be finalised to see him locked away for the future.
Sharman was selected a further 20 selections later but has impressed in his opening two matches for the Saints and conversations around a new deal will ramp up soon.
Mid-season draftees were given the option of nominating for six months to the end of 2021, 18-months to 2022 or nominating their own terms when lodging their paperwork. Hawthorn's Jai Newcombe (signed to 2023) was the only player to request a longer contract.
Richmond's Matthew Parker remains out of contract but is expected to win a fresh deal along with Patrick Parnell (Adelaide), Kalin Lane (Brisbane) and Daniel Turner (Melbourne).
Jordan Boyd (Carlton), Charlie Ham (North Melbourne), Kye Declase (Melbourne), Jackson Callow (Hawthorn), Jed McEntee (Port Adelaide), Will Collins and Connor West (West Coast) all signed for six months and will be hopeful of extending their stays at their new clubs.
Ash Johnson, Aiden Begg (Collingwood), Ned Moyle (Gold Coast), Alex Mirkov (Carlton), Max Heath (St Kilda), James Peatling (GWS), Sam Durham (Essendon) and Lachie McAndrew (Sydney) all committed for 18 months.
Meantime, nine players picked up in the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP) remain unsigned heading into 2022.
Hawthorn's Lachie Bramble has done enough to extend his stay and is likely to soon sign a fresh extension, while Richmond's Rhyan Mansell will be retained at Punt Road.
Melbourne's Majak Daw is also without a deal but impressed the Demons with his ability to return to full fitness early in the season having only arrived to train in February. The 30-year-old is yet to play AFL in 2021 but was part of the squad that travelled to Perth for Monday night's clash with West Coast.
Daw, who this year qualifies as an unrestricted free agent having previously been delisted from an AFL list, was originally recruited as added forward depth due to Ben Brown and Sam Weideman's pre-season injury setbacks.
However, the former Roo has been deployed mostly as a ruck at VFL level and averaged 26 hitouts per game. He could yet win a new deal on the basis of added ruck depth given the Demons searched, yet ultimately failed to secure any, behind Max Gawn and Luke Jackson last year.
St Kilda's Mason Wood has a games trigger to clinch a deal for 2022 that he is yet to reach and is set to miss the remainder of the season with a back injury leaving his future unclear.
Essendon's Kaine Baldwin, selected as a long-term project, is expected to sign on for next season but Deakyn Smith (Melbourne), Oscar McDonald (Carlton), Paul Hunter (St Kilda), Derek Eggmolesse-Smith (Richmond) are awaiting further clarity. – Mitch Cleary
ROOKIES WIN FROM RULE CHANGE
THE FUTURE of many of the game's project players could be extended by an AFL decision allowing clubs to hand third-year rookies a 'replacement year' away the primary list.
As reported by AFL.com.au last week, the League has written to all clubs informing them that players will now be able to spend a fourth consecutive season on a club's list as a rookie.
The move has been welcomed by clubs across the competition, with players like Carlton forward Matt Owies, North Melbourne's experienced ruckman Tom Campbell, and Irish imports like Collingwood's Anton Tohill and Greater Western Sydney's Callum Brown all in line to benefit from the rule tweak with the possibility of another year as a rookie.
There are a number of uncontracted third-year rookies who have played a host of games this season, with Sydney goal sneak Sam Wicks (19 senior games), Carlton duo Matt Cottrell and Owies (14 each), North Melbourne pair Campbell (nine) and Kyron Hayden (three), and Fremantle defender Tobe Watson (nine) among them.
Clubs believe it could especially aid those who haven't yet broken through into the AFL system like Tohill (one career game), Brown (two career games) and Geelong's Irish recruit Stefan Okunbor (yet to debut).
Whereas they might have otherwise faced an uncertain future, with clubs forced to decide between handing them a primary list spot or delisting them altogether, teams will now have the flexibility of retaining them on a rookie list for another year.
Clubs had urged the AFL to consider the rule change due to the recent interruptions to both NAB League and state-league competitions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which they believed put the development of several players at risk of stalling significantly.
A number of clubs had also lobbied to League officials to retain last year's rule change that allowed teams to freely move players from the primary list to the rookie list, without having to delist those players first. However, that proposal was rejected. – Riley Beveridge
BOMBERS' RECRUITING ADDITION
THE FATHER of a star Bomber is helping the club try to find its next gun.
Rob Ridley, the dad of reigning Essendon best and fairest winner Jordan, is helping the club's recruiting department in a voluntary scouting role.
Ridley, who was formerly a high-ranking member of Victoria Police, has been assisting Essendon's recruiting team by watching this year's draft class in a move motivated by his passion for the game.
Jordan joined the Bombers via pick 22 at the 2016 NAB AFL Draft and after an injury-hit start to his career last year blossomed into one of Essendon's most important players.
The intercepting and classy defender became the third-least experienced Bomber in the club's history to win the Crichton Medal after just 26 games and this season has again been terrific, including playing an important role in Sunday's surprise win over the Western Bulldogs. – Callum Twomey
HOW DOES THE KELLY COIN FIT?
JOSH Kelly's whopping eight-year contract at the Giants can be varied throughout the length of his deal to help the club with its salary cap and is not subject to the same hard-and-fast rules as a free agent.
Under the AFL's free agency mandate, if a player takes up a rival's offer and moves clubs the player must be paid under the same year-by-year terms as agreed upon in the initial deal.
It is why Sydney's mega free agency contract with Lance Franklin has been spread differently across his nine-year deal, including a spike of up to $1.4 million this season before dipping next year.
Tom Lynch's deal after crossing from Gold Coast to Richmond as a free agent is backended, meaning he will start to enter the highest-paid years of his seven-season commitment from 2022.
Kelly, however, is not tied by the same rules given he signed his $8 million extension with his own club. It allows the year-by-year payments to be split differently with agreement from Kelly and his management, which could lead to back or front-ended payments depending on the Giants' cap situation.
Rivals had believed Kelly was intent on staying at GWS for some time despite North Melbourne again trying to lure him back to Victoria, with his Giants agreement understood to be the biggest non-free agency deal in football history. – Callum Twomey