Carlton’s contract ‘logjam’ a must-watch in 2023

    The Blues were able to secure their attacking twin towers in recent months with Charlie Curnow (2029) and Harry McKay (2030) sacrificing their 2023 free agency by signing long-term deals.Carlton hopes De Koning will take another strong step forward in his fifth season and join that pair and a bevy of Blues who have recently committed to the club in hopes of staying together for a premiership.But De Koning is in no hurry to recommit despite Carlton’s hopes he might lock away a new deal over summer.Curnow and McKay are such commanding figures in attack that they take up the lion’s share of inside-50 targets, with ruckman Marc Pittonet also set to be back at full fitness in 2023 after PCL issues this season.Pittonet played only eight games in 2022, which allowed De Koning to play a career-high 19 AFL games in a year in which he turned 23.Clubs believes De Koning could be the second forward or even first ruckman in many teams, which is why so many have inquired about his interest.The likely outcome is he continues his progress as a versatile forward-ruckman who has a chance to play as the third forward given Michael Voss’s determination to play Mitch McGovern as a key defender.McGovern’s lucrative five-year contract expires at the end of 2023, which will help clear salary cap space for a club that has paid up for stars including Curnow, McKay, Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh, Zac Williams and Jacob Weitering.Other Blues to come out of contract next year include Pittonet, inspirational former captain Sam Docherty, Sam Durdin, Jack Silvagni and Jesse Motlop.Across the competition clubs that have all but finalised their lists with only one or two spots remaining for summer rookies are turning to re-signing their stars out of contract in 2023.Where are the biggest contracts of 2023 at? DYLAN MOORE (HAWTHORN)How much will Hawthorn’s decision to delist then rookie-list Dylan Moore at the end of 2020 cost the club given that list decision officially made him a free agent in 2023? Moore went on to enjoy a breakout 2021 that secured him a two-year deal that expires next year.Now the mid-forward will surely secure a premium as a 23-year-old free agent who has kicked 27 and 26 goals in the past two years and shown he can be a bona fide midfielder.Moore went into the centre square in the last third of the year and was spectacular in wins against West Coast, North Melbourne and Gold Coast.He has significant leverage because a club trying to build an elite list absolutely must keep him.And clubs know full well they almost never find a free agent so young unless they secure that status through being delisted.Mabior Chol signed a four-year deal worth over $400,000 a season when he won free agency through the same process as a player delisted then rookied by his club.Moore is every bit a $600,000 per season player.NOAH ANDERSON (GOLD COAST)Talks have not yet started with Gold Coast and Anderson, but are expected to ramp up in coming months for a player who has gone past his best mate Rowell.Anderson finished second behind Touk Miller in the club’s best-and-fairest in a breakout year when he averaged 26 possessions and 5.6 clearances and kicked a career-high 11 goals.The expectation is that Anderson will commit over summer to a deal that should reward him with over $800,000 a season given the expected rise in the CBA.TOM GREEN (GWS)Green is contracted until the end of 2023 and made clear very early he wasn’t going to be part of the exodus of players that saw Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper move to Richmond.The grandson of Richmond premiership player Michael won’t be finding his way to Punt Rd but could show his burgeoning leadership by re-signing past 2023 with a minimum of fuss.Those talks have not yet kicked off but Green can write his own cheque as an AFL player given his huge talent as a clearance beast.GWS will hope that it is at a club where he has already professed his loyalty. He stated his intention to stay early this year when he said “I’m contracted for this year and next year and I absolutely love being here, which is something not encouraging for Richmond fans to hear, I guess.”BEN McKAY (NORTH MELBOURNE)McKay hits free agency next year and all is not lost even if he decides he find greener pastures at the end of 2023.As a likely bottom-four side the Roos would secure a top five free agency compensation pick if he left the club.North Melbourne will hope for a strong start next year under Alastair Clarkson that showcases their potential and defensive depth with Griffin Logue alongside McKay.If he displays the form that saw him control the air averaging 10 intercept possessions in his last six games of 2022, the ideal scenario is he signs a five-year deal well in excess of $4 million next year.

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