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.
CLUBS WAITING ON FREE AGENCY BANDINGS
CLUBS remain uncertain about which players will be deemed restricted or unrestricted free agents this year as the AFL works through the player payments.
The League is yet to release its official list of free agents for 2022, although AFL.com.au in February revealed the list of more than 100 players who qualified this year.
AFL.com.au has updated the list in this week's Inside Trading free agency special, with the full club-by-club rundown available below.
Restricted free agents are players who are in the top 25 per cent of paid players at their club this year where they have been for eight or nine years.
It is based on the final year of a player's contract and not the average payment over a deal, meaning they could be back-ended or front-ended deals that lead to different bandings.
The bandings are important, because clubs with restricted free agents are able to match rival bids on them, with unrestricted free agents able to walk to their club of choice.
>>SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL LIST OF FREE AGENTS
Unrestricted free agents are players outside their club's top 25 per cent paid in their eighth or ninth seasons, have been at their club for 10 years or more, have previously been delisted or have previously qualified for free agency.
Melbourne's Angus Brayshaw, Collingwood's Jordan De Goey, Hawthorn's James Sicily and Sydney's Jake Lloyd are expected to be among the small group of restricted free agents listed when the AFL releases its official free agency bandings.
Brisbane's Dan McStay, Port Adelaide's Karl Amon and Essendon's Kyle Langford are in the group likely to be graded as unrestricted free agents, with Tiger Jayden Short also a chance to be in that category. – Callum Twomey
STAR PIE KEEN TO OPEN CONTRACT TALKS
COLLINGWOOD matchwinner Jordan De Goey is keen to start talks on a new deal with the Pies.
De Goey has been in career-best form to start this season, averaging 23 disposals and two goals a game in his four matches so far in 2022, including a four-goal haul in last week's loss to Brisbane.
The highest-profile free agent in the competition has overcome an interrupted pre-season to be one of Collingwood's leading players in the opening portion of the season, despite missing round four through suspension.
De Goey's manager Ryan Vague is keen to start discussions with the Magpies on a new deal shortly, with the 26-year-old enjoying a hot start to the year under new coach Craig McRae.
De Goey has been the subject of big rival offers through previous contract negotiations, with North Melbourne courting the Magpie in 2018 with a mega deal and St Kilda also keen that year.
He last agreed to a two-year extension at the end of 2020, which took him through to this season when he reaches free agency for the first time having joined the Pies via the 2014 NAB AFL Draft with their prized pick No.5.
His teammate from that year's draft, Darcy Moore, earlier this month turned his back on free agency with a six-year deal worth around $5 million. – Callum Twomey
PREMIERSHIP BULLDOG CLOSING IN ON DEAL
HAVING secured its vice-captain Jack Macrae to a long-term deal at the start of the season, the Western Bulldogs are heading towards a contract that takes Caleb Daniel off the free agency list.
Daniel has been in discussions for an extension for some time with the Dogs as he hits free agency for the first time this year.
He is edging closer to a new deal, which could be around the four-year mark which would take him through to the end of 2026.
Daniel has been a mainstay of the Dogs' line-up since the club's premiership season in 2016, when he was an important member of its breakthrough flag.
He had a career-best season in 2020 when he was named a Therabody AFL All-Australian defender and also claimed the Bulldogs' best and fairest.
TRADE HUB All the latest player movement news
The 25-year-old has featured in every game for the Dogs so far this season and averaged 24 disposals out of the backline with his sharp kicking skills and smarts.
The Dogs signed Macrae for five years and also have Bailey Dale, Jason Johannisen and Zaine Cordy among their out-of-contract free agents. – Callum Twomey
FREO DEFENDER'S FOOTY FOCUS
AFTER being injury-hit over the previous three seasons, Fremantle defender Alex Pearce is concentrating on building games before starting contract talks.
Pearce reaches free agency for the first time this season with the important backman having focused on getting some games in before kicking off discussions.
He has played four games this season and is an important piece of the Dockers' build in defence, having also captained Fremantle in its win over Essendon last weekend as the stand-in skipper for injured star Nat Fyfe.
The Tasmanian played 11 games in 2019, didn't feature in 2020 and last year played 10 games having endured serious ankle and leg injuries across his career.
The 26-year-old heads the Dockers' list of free agents this year, which includes veteran David Mundy, who signed a one-year extension last year, as well as Bailey Banfield, Connor Blakely and Mitch Crowden, and is one of a handful of key defensive options in the overall free agency pool. – Callum Twomey
SWANS OPEN TALKS ON FREE AGENT
SYDNEY has started contract discussions with Jake Lloyd, a priority among the Swans' group of free agents.
Lloyd is among the Swans' competition-high nine remaining free agents out of contract this year and talks have opened on a new deal.
The 28-year-old missed the opening round of this season while in the AFL's health and safety protocols but has played every game since and remains a key cog for the club across half-back.
The ball magnet last signed a four-year deal with the Swans in 2018 and he went on to claim the club's best and fairest that season and again in 2020.
Lloyd has been one of Sydney's many success stories from the club's rookie list, having been overlooked in two drafts and then finding a home with pick 16 in the 2013 rookie draft.
The Swans secured the signature of would-be free agent Isaac Heeney in March on a six-year term tying him to the club until at least the end of 2028. – Callum Twomey
PREMIERSHIP TIGER TO WAIT
RICHMOND free agent Kane Lambert is likely to get back into the senior fold after his hip injury before discussions on his contract start.
Lambert has played back-to-back games in the VFL after managing a hip injury over the pre-season but the triple premiership player is yet to get into contract talks to extend him beyond this season.
He picked up 25 disposals and kicked two goals last week at state league level.
The hard-working midfielder has been a central player in Richmond's flag era, with his defensive running and ball-getting ability a key factor in the Tigers' midfield under coach Damien Hardwick.
The Tigers have missed Lambert so far this season, with the 30-year-old not playing at senior level yet after 13 games last year in an injury-hit campaign.
>>SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL LIST OF FREE AGENTS
Lambert reaches free agency after being a late starter at the top level, having been drafted as a 23-year-old rookie by Richmond at the end of 2014 after a number of strong VFL seasons.
He is one of five premiership Tigers who are free agents this year, with Jayden Short in discussions over a deal that could be as long as five years. – Callum Twomey
GOLD COAST VETERAN TAKING IT 'YEAR BY YEAR'
LEVI Casboult says he'll reassess his future at the end of the season, but at this stage the Gold Coast recruit is keen to play as long as he can.
Casboult has slotted into the Suns' team perfectly since coming from Carlton via the rookie draft last year. Because he was delisted by the Blues, he qualifies as a free agent this year at the Suns.
The 32-year-old has kicked nine goals from five games and been an integral part of a revamped forward line following the season-ending knee injury to young star Ben King.
"I love playing footy and the fire still burns," Casboult told AFL.com.au.
"The body's going well so far, as well as it can for a 32-year-old. I'll keep going on as long as I can.
"I think it's a year-by-year prospect. Most guys that get over 30 it's a year-by-year prospect. I'll keep re-assessing at the end of every year and the club will re-assess how they sit and where their list is at and we'll go from there."
Casboult's bruising style was hoped to complement the developing King, but he'd have to play on in 2023 to get that opportunity.
He has formed a good relationship with Mabior Chol (10 goals) inside 50 and says he's keen to continue living in Queensland with his wife and three children.
"We've loved our time up here and we probably won't go back to be honest. We've loved it so far." – Michael Whiting
MORE MID-SEASON DRAFT OPTIONS EMERGE
A STELLAR start to the SANFL season has shot ex-Sydney Academy prospect Jacob Bauer into the sights of several AFL clubs ahead of this year's NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
Bauer, a high-flying 191cm forward, made a last-minute decision to sign for North Adelaide on the eve of this season and has quickly emerged on the radar of a handful of sides after booting 10 goals from his first two SANFL matches.
The 19-year-old was overlooked by clubs at last year's national draft after drifting in and out of the Swans' Academy program, but caught the eye of AFL recruiters when he kicked five goals playing against 20 AFL-listed Adelaide players on his SANFL debut.
He followed that performance with five more goals against Central District last weekend, in a display that also included eight marks and three strong contested grabs.
At least five AFL clubs have since registered their interest in Bauer ahead of the mid-season rookie draft, where the youngster will be looking to become the fourth ex-Sydney Academy graduate to find himself on a rival list.
Luke Parks (Carlton), Ben Davis (Adelaide) and Jack Buckley (GWS Giants) are all former members of the Swans' Academy who have since moved elsewhere.
A number of other names have popped up in the early part of the season to catch the eyes of scouts for the mid-season intake.
Jai Culley, a tall midfielder with the Dandenong Stingrays, has put his name on the map after being overlooked last season, while former West Coast midfielder Mitch O'Neill's form in the SANFL has also created some interest.
Murray Bushrangers key forward Fletcher Hart kicked six goals in the NAB League last week, with scouts having watched the 201cm prospect in action. – Riley Beveridge, Callum Twomey
UPDATED 2022 FREE AGENTS LIST
^Previously a free agent
Jordan De Goey
Matt De Boer*