Sydney and the Western Bulldogs both face crucial years off the field, with 19 free agents split across the two contenders in a bumper crop.
AFL Media revealed the list of 104 players who can become free agents after the 2022 season, though many will choose to either retire or simply re-sign during the season.
But as always, some free agents will be drawn to new clubs by the large contracts on offer, with a strong 2014 draft class now eligible for free agency for the first time.
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That includes Sydney gun Isaac Heeney, Collingwood pair Jordan de Goey and Darcy Moore, Melbourne midfielder Angus Brayshaw, Richmond’s Jayden Short and Essendon’s Kyle Langford and Jayden Laverde.
The former four, along with Hawthorn gun James Sicily, are expected to be restricted free agents as they are in the top 25 per cent of their club’s earners.
Clubs can match contracts offered to their restricted free agents – which then forces a trade to be worked on.
The Bulldogs must find a way to re-sign seven members of their 2021 Grand Final side, including vice-captain Jack Macrae – who said recently he wants to be a Bulldog for life – plus All-Australians Caleb Daniel and Bailey Dale, and Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen.
Lance Franklin’s nine-year, $10-million contract finally comes to an end after 2022, with the Sydney superstar more likely to retire after reaching the 1000-goal milestone early in the season than move elsewhere.
Other notable free agents include Dayne Zorko, Jamie Elliott, Dyson Heppell, Tom Hawkins, Jack Gunston, Jayden Hunt, Ben Cunnington, Travis Boak, Robbie Gray, Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert, Jack Riewoldt, Nic Naitanui and Luke Shuey.
Players who have previously been delisted or were previously a free agent automatically become free agents when out of contract.
AFL FREE AGENTS AFTER 2022 SEASON
*Previously delisted, ^Previously a free agent
Jordan De Goey
Gold Coast Suns
Matt De Boer*
West Coast Eagles