RICHMOND star Dustin Martin has been given the green light to take all season to consider his contract offer if he needs to, with the Tigers comfortable with the terms they have offered.
Martin, who refused to discuss his contract negotiations at a promotional event on Wednesday, has been offered a long-term deal that is reported to be worth more than $800,000 a season.
Football manager Neil Balme said the Tigers know where the star midfielder fits in the AFL player market and they have tabled a "terrific offer" they believe Martin will eventually accept.
Asked if the club would be comfortable waiting the majority of the season for Martin to re-sign, as they did in 2013, Balme said: "We're totally comfortable with that".
"They've got every right to take as long as they like to consider it," Balme told SEN.
"We know where he fits in the market and we know what we've offered him, we know that's all reasonable and we're pretty confident that he genuinely wants to be a Tiger."
Balme said free agency was set up for players to be able to explore their market worth and Martin had every right to look at his options as a restricted free agent.
"It's a terrific opportunity for a bloke like Dustin with free agency to make sure he gets the right deal," Balme said.
"We've made him a terrific offer and he can take as along as he likes as far as we're concerned as long as he plays good footy in 2017.
"It's just about working out where Dusty fits in our program and also within the AFL larger program as to what we need to be able to pay him.
"He's an exceptional player for us and we want to do the long-term deal with him and I think we've made an offer that eventually will be fine, and I reckon he will find that as well."
Balme acknowledged that delaying a new contract could be a problem for Martin because of the scrutiny sure to follow from the public and media.
"I think that's the only problem because it is hard to handle," he said.
"Everyone is actually interested in what Dusty does, because he is such a wonderful player to watch and an interesting character.
"He's going to draw that attention, so he's just got to be able to cope with it. We as a club can."
Balme said the club spoke to Martin ahead of his involvement in a Sherrin promotion he attended on Wednesday as a favour to mentor and former Richmond assistant Mark Williams.
He disputed reports that Martin didn't answer questions on his contract or couldn't handle media questions.