TIM KELLY'S desire for a long-term contract will ensure he reveals a decision on his future at season's end, rebuffing Geelong's push for an immediate answer.
Kelly will use this week's mid-season bye to spend time with his family in Geelong, with conversations around where he plays in 2020 on hold for later in the season.
Held to his contract by the Cats and denied a move to the Eagles last October, Kelly is set to fall out of contract at season's end, opening the door for a departure.
With multi-million-dollar offers coming from West Coast and Fremantle to entice Kelly to return home to WA next year, he remains "locked in" to Geelong's quest for a flag in 2019.
Holding faint hope of keeping Kelly, the Cats are understood to have raised a number of different options to retain him, including a one-year deal for 2020.
However, in the prime of his career and turning 25 next month, Kelly is seeking a long-term contract to provide security for his family.
"I'm just really locked in at the moment," Kelly told AFL Nation after the Cats' 67-point win over Richmond on Friday night.
"I'm enjoying being back at the club, enjoying my footy and I love playing with these boys.
"As for my future, it's all up in the air at the moment and I'll get to that at the end of the year.
"For now, it's playing the best footy I can and enjoying these boys and it's obviously enjoyable when you're winning."
After shutting the door on a move to the Dockers last year, Kelly is now open to the possibility of wearing purple in 2020.
Fremantle's salary cap demands may allow it to offer a more lucrative contract than their crosstown rivals.
Among the top handful of midfielders in the competition, Kelly's form has driven his value up in recent months and is expected to cost the Eagles or Dockers in excess of $800,000 per season.
It is understood any offer from the Cats will need to at least match the mark set by the WA clubs, in order to offset Kelly's demands to be surrounded by family in the west.
Kelly's Perth-based manager Anthony Van Der Wielen remains in constant dialogue with Cats officials and makes regular trips to Geelong during the season.
Key talks are expected to come in round 20 when the Cats make their only trip to Optus Stadium for the season to play Fremantle.
The Cats had hoped for an answer from Kelly during this season to help plan for other contingencies ahead of the NAB AFL Trade Period.
"We're not waiting until the end of the year, because we'd love a decision before then," chief executive Brian Cook told K Rock in May.
"We're in constant dialogue. We're in weekly dialogue, I think, with his manager, and we're very determined to give it our best shot to keep him.
"Whether that's good enough, who knows?
"We'll know sometime during the year – hopefully not at the end of the year. We'd like to (re-sign Kelly) before then."
Kelly finished equal runner-up in Geelong's best and fairest averaging 22.9 disposals per game last season and has improved to 26.6 a match this year.