Free Agency is a disaster for the competition and needs a huge rethink

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Gazza Greatness

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That's the Geelong produced narrative sure, and as a supporter I can see why you're rehashing it.

But we're all just outsiders to the club, what actual evidence is there that what you said is true? We don't know what these players are really getting paid, and if they are paid outside the cap then it's in their interest too to promote this idea that they're all getting paid unders.

The AFL needs to come out and say what is done to ensure the integrity of the salary cap. Of concern is most breaches are self reported, and those that aren't are from whistleblowers. Has an AFL audit *ever* identified a serious salary cap breach?

If not, is that because AFL audits are Mickey mouse?
Not a Geelong narrative Rob but my own personal view/opinion of which I'll repeat again. If you have your top players/leaders at a club prepared to sign long term contracts for their club under there true market value (referring Selwood, Hawkins, Dangerfield) then it sets a precedence to all other players at club but even moreso when a player from another club may consider playing at club, as they will know that there is a 'monetary standard set' by club which greatly assists and helps formulate a on-going competitive playing list, which is the opposite when your top players are wanting market price value. There is no way, if Cameron comes to Geelong, he will be on a long term contract of a greater value that what he would receive from other clubs nor will he be on more money than Selwood, Hawkins or Dangerfield, so when a player considers coming to Geelong they understand this caveat but they also realise by playing there part from a monetary prospective, it gives the club a better opportunity of growing and being more competitive in the future, the rest we leave upto Wells who for many years has been the best in the business and in whom we trust. Amazingly, Wells has had only had one pick under top 10 in draft in past 16 years and along with Cook are the two most important people at club.
 
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PhatBoy

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It's an American model they followed. If the AFL didn't know this would happen, then it's a lie.

Free Agency began in the AFL around the same time Lebron James banged together a super team at the Miami Heat. The people at the AFL would have known this. The same thing is now happening in the AFL. Guys who are hungry for success are moving to superteams. It will only get worse.

The main problem I see is that the process in a player's mind seems to be as follows -

Number 1 goal from being drafted is success. The BEST players get drafted to bottom sides because they have the early draft picks. But the time that team is tasting success, those drafted players are in their early to mid 20's. They spend a few years trying to win a premiership. If they cannot win that premiership and those players get past 25 years of age, they know that the next shot at a premiership might not be for another 5 to 10 years. So they jump ship and head to a place they can win a premiership.

Tom Lynch and Jezza are exactly in this boat, and following this path. And the more players that succeed in this way of doing things, the more it will happen. No doubt Jezza saw Lynch leave a crumbling GC and win a premiership... he would probably be thinking he wants to do the same. GWS are on the way down. Watch the fish jump out. Teams like Richmond, Geelong, Collingwood, West Coast will snag them all.

We have to take some responsibility for that too. For decades a player wasn't judged, or critiqued, on whether he won anything or not. He was judged by how well he played, and how much he lifted the guys immediately around him. That was it.
While Gary Ablett Sr played, while it was acknowledged that he hadn't won a flag, it was never ever held over him and used to talk him down, that he hadn't.

Now, if you dare mention that any player is decent, the termites fly out of the timber to point out that he hasn't won a flag or whatever. It's very much the trend in the US now, especially since the Jordan-James debate was first raised.

Players see their own legacy differently now because not only is a premiership something you want for your own satisfaction, but because you will be reminded of it forever by others if you don't win one.
 

CharacterFirst

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Yea, but that’s the point of FREE AGENCY.

Right now the difference between a Grandfinal team offer and a bottom team is only 250k. It’s not worth it atm.
But that doesn't change my point.

1 mill at top club, winning, chance of a flag, lifestyle, working environment, and closer to family (for example in the Cameron case).

OR

2 mill at North with none of the other benefits, and a pretty much guaranteed long and miserable end to your career.

I'm still going Geelong if I was Cameron.
 

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Kwality

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It's an American model they followed. If the AFL didn't know this would happen, then it's a lie.

Free Agency began in the AFL around the same time Lebron James banged together a super team at the Miami Heat. The people at the AFL would have known this. The same thing is now happening in the AFL. Guys who are hungry for success are moving to superteams. It will only get worse.

The main problem I see is that the process in a player's mind seems to be as follows -

Number 1 goal from being drafted is success. The BEST players get drafted to bottom sides because they have the early draft picks. But the time that team is tasting success, those drafted players are in their early to mid 20's. They spend a few years trying to win a premiership. If they cannot win that premiership and those players get past 25 years of age, they know that the next shot at a premiership might not be for another 5 to 10 years. So they jump ship and head to a place they can win a premiership.

Tom Lynch and Jezza are exactly in this boat, and following this path. And the more players that succeed in this way of doing things, the more it will happen. No doubt Jezza saw Lynch leave a crumbling GC and win a premiership... he would probably be thinking he wants to do the same. GWS are on the way down. Watch the fish jump out. Teams like Richmond, Geelong, Collingwood, West Coast will snag them all.
Wait for the outcry IF Paddy Cripps goes home. Whats OK for the media commentators might do a U-turn.
 

F_therest

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Lynch going to Richmond for no draft picks after they won a premiership really sucked for equalisation...he definitely helped them be premiers in 2019 and maybe again this year...he's the main man up forward, Jack Riewoldt is only a side kick now.

Geelong getting Cameron would be a similar thing, though sounds like they'll have to trade for him.

Lynch & Cameron are two of the best key forwards in the comp and in the right age bracket to be at their peak...for both to go to reigning premiers is a bit of a joke.
 

Kappa

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I might as well write this now as (Restricted) Free Agency is about to deliver us a second superstar in five years - so it doesn't look like whinging. I love what FA has brought for my club, but I absolutely hate what it's done for the competition.

One of the great things about footy in the 2000s was that it felt like it could be anyone's turn. Fitzroy/Brisbane, Geelong and Sydney all broke droughts; StKilda almost broke theirs.

Now, with the advent of FA, the best players only want to move to the best clubs (surprise, surprise) - and so that means that clubs like Geelong, Sydney, Richmond and Hawthorn all get to turn flags into eras, while spending the decade away from the cliff face that hit Brisbane and Essendon in the 2000s. It's crazy that a side can win a flag or come runner-up and immediately add a "big fish" like Frawley, Lynch, Cameron, Buddy, Crouch et al. In last year's prelim, Tom Lynch kicked five goals of Richmond's twelve, in a three-goal win. No Tom Lynch, no 2019 flag.

As much as I have loved Geelong's run for 14 years now, IMO it really hurts the competition as a whole. Free Agency has just turned into a talent siphon from bad clubs to good, and made it that much more predictable.
Guys like Cameron would've left even if there was no FA.
 

F_therest

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The league is more equal than ever, sure FA itself doesn’t help that but it’s obviously not a competition breaking feature. People just arc up when a move doesn’t quite feel right. But players go to better teams even without FA.
Yeah but putting Richmond out of the equation, for a reigning premier to get one of the best key forwards in the comp for nothing is a bit a joke for equalisation.
 

The Final Word

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Lynch going to Richmond for no draft picks after they won a premiership really sucked for equalisation...he definitely helped them be premiers in 2019 and maybe again this year...he's the main man up forward, Jack Riewoldt is only a side kick now.

Geelong getting Cameron would be a similar thing, though sounds like they'll have to trade for him.

Lynch & Cameron are two of the best key forwards in the comp and in the right age bracket to be at their peak...for both to go to reigning premiers is a bit of a joke.
The only reason that can get these guys is Richmond and Geelong have managed their salary caps. Tigers lost Rance (and Butler and Ellis), and Cats lost Kelly. Cameron will probably be on the money set aside for Tim Kelly.
 

F_therest

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The only reason that can get these guys is Richmond and Geelong have managed their salary caps. Tigers lost Rance (and Butler and Ellis), and Cats lost Kelly. Cameron will probably be on the money set aside for Tim Kelly.
I understand that and it's good work from those clubs.

But particularly the Richmond case, where the reigning premier got one of the best key forwards in the comp for nothing in terms of trade, isn't great for the competition.
 

btdg

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I don’t mind it at all. There was a time period (roughly from the fall of Carlton in 2002 to Geelong’s signing Dangerfield in 2016 imo) where success and failure just felt cyclical - do a few years at the bottom, cycle up, then fall away again. Some teams rose higher, others fell further, etc, but it was all just a cycle.


Now, I really like the system:
- is there a path for teams at the top to stay there? Yep - but it is a complex one. they can attract top free agents and players attracted by success but have to balance age, salary cap and do it with limited draft currency. Get it wrong and you end up in Hawthorn’s spot. Get it right and you can be Geelong.

- is there a chance for teams at the bottom to rise? Yep. We’ve seen Brisbane do this, before that Richmond. They have more draft assets and cap space but have to be strategic in how they plan and develop. Get it right and you can set yourself up for a long period of competitiveness. But, take too long or not offer a clear enough path and players will want to leave.

- Can teams in the middle make a leap? Yep. They have access to decent draft assets and if they can sell free agents on their path they have a good shot. But, This is the tricky part. The Essendon/Melbourne:Carlton types can fall into a trap of overpaying second tier free agents, and giving up draft currency to get them, and falling away again.

Basically, I think it gives every team a shot in a 3-4 year window, without building in cyclical randomness. It feels like teams are rewarded for good culture, good player development, good drafting, at all points in the premiership clock.

And that’s borne out across the league. I think as many as 15-16 teams would consider themselves of competing.

The expansion teams are a bit of a problem, but that’s due more to how they were initially set up than anything else. GOld Coast feel like a ‘normal’ club now, one that has rebuilt and is on a long path to success. GWS - they’re unusual in their construction and the constant cycle of having too many players, trading them out for draft assets, too many players, rinse and repeat is taking too long to normalise imo. Strangely, one big year of exodus (as this could be) would normalise them quite well and then I think the system is in a really good place.
 

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harrythetiger

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Yeah but putting Richmond out of the equation, for a reigning premier to get one of the best key forwards in the comp for nothing is a bit a joke for equalisation.
If the Cats win this week I take it you're referring to?

If a team is able to assemble a list capable of winning a premiership, while also keeping enough salary cap space to fit an extra gun, that should be rewarded. In my view the salary floor should be lowered, to give lower clubs a chance to attract A Grade talent if they choose to do so, it's pretty ridiculous to expect that the value of players on the top and bottom team is so close together.
Top teams hold the success card, teams with lower valued lists should be allowed the money card.
 

Americanpies

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We have to take some responsibility for that too. For decades a player wasn't judged, or critiqued, on whether he won anything or not. He was judged by how well he played, and how much he lifted the guys immediately around him. That was it.
While Gary Ablett Sr played, while it was acknowledged that he hadn't won a flag, it was never ever held over him and used to talk him down, that he hadn't.

Now, if you dare mention that any player is decent, the termites fly out of the timber to point out that he hasn't won a flag or whatever. It's very much the trend in the US now, especially since the Jordan-James debate was first raised.

Players see their own legacy differently now because not only is a premiership something you want for your own satisfaction, but because you will be reminded of it forever by others if you don't win one.

Exactly right. Sports are now about the individual. People are beginning to follow People, and not Teams. It hasn't really happened like that in the AFL yet, but with NBA for example... I know people that just follow Lebron James.. whatever team he goes to, they support. There are other sports where I see this - Soccer, Motorsport, NFL. And this is part of what all this is about. The player is the one that fans follow, regardless of where he is and this kind of public interest in a person puts that person on a platform which says "this guy is so good, he needs to win everything".

In line with what you said... I keep seeing tidbits in the news and social media about Dangerfield being the most games without a Grand Final or some rubbish. I honestly don't care about stuff like that, but surely he reads that, other players read that... and they then get this thing in their head that they NEED success.
 

SSSSSS

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Friendly reminder that Hawthorn received pick 19 as compensation for the greatest forward of the 21st century to walk to a direct rival.
 

The Final Word

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I understand that and it's good work from those clubs.

But particularly the Richmond case, where the reigning premier got one of the best key forwards in the comp for nothing in terms of trade, isn't great for the competition.
I get that. I honestly get the argument and why people are annoyed. But seriously as I said earlier we're currently sitting at 3 free agents of real significance being done. One of which, Frawley, the parent club had no interest in retaining. The other, Buddy, changed teams from the Premier to the 4th from that year. Hawks were right pissed at the compo but otherwise no massive issues from neutrals.

Lynch was different because of the perception of the Suns ineptitude. The fact that they delisted Jarryd Lyons in the same probably confirms where their footy department was at in terms of list management.

But seriously people are making it out like the world is ending (it possibly is in a literal sense but that's beside the point) because Lynch went to the Tigers and Cameron has nominated Geelong (and it's looking like it'll be a trade). This is apparently what qualifies as a "disaster" these days.
 

PhatBoy

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Exactly right. Sports are now about the individual. People are beginning to follow People, and not Teams. It hasn't really happened like that in the AFL yet, but with NBA for example... I know people that just follow Lebron James.. whatever team he goes to, they support. There are other sports where I see this - Soccer, Motorsport, NFL. And this is part of what all this is about. The player is the one that fans follow, regardless of where he is and this kind of public interest in a person puts that person on a platform which says "this guy is so good, he needs to win everything".

In line with what you said... I keep seeing tidbits in the news and social media about Dangerfield being the most games without a Grand Final or some rubbish. I honestly don't care about stuff like that, but surely he reads that, other players read that... and they then get this thing in their head that they NEED success.

I'm guilty of that. As a kid I loved the Sonics in the West and the Knicks in the East. One no longer exists, the other may as well not. So after a hiatus from following the sport I literally got back into it on the back of watching James and I'll happily just follow him. I have no affiliation for the Lakers whatsoever but I was riding their bandwagon all year from a distance.

And you're spot on. Before any grand final as long as I've been watching there has been little side narratives about so-and-so finally getting the ultimate success but it is never ever one of the central narratives. And even when it was, it was never "he has to have this success to cement his legacy" instead it was "this would be a great reward for a club legend."

Think Nick Riewoldt in 09-10. I don't remember anyone saying he needed to win to cement his status in the game
 

The Final Word

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Friendly reminder that Hawthorn received pick 19 as compensation for the greatest forward of the 21st century to walk to a direct rival.
We turned the best player of the 21st century into Billie Smedts and 4 seasons of Josh Caddy.
 

Boxhead_31

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Draft pick Points equal to the free agency compensation, just like with academies, father son etc
Give the clubs the ability to trade players under contract whether they want to move clubs or not, to balance out the FA side of things and get rid of compo picks altogether.

As it currently sits player movement power resides too much with the players and clubs get left hanging. If clubs have an indication that a player may leave during FA giving them the ability to trade them earlier and get a good return would make the whole FA thing equal
 

theyellowsash

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Give the clubs the ability to trade players under contract whether they want to move clubs or not, to balance out the FA side of things and get rid of compo picks altogether.

As it currently sits player movement power resides too much with the players and clubs get left hanging. If clubs have an indication that a player may leave during FA giving them the ability to trade them earlier and get a good return would make the whole FA thing equal
I don't think it does though. It doesn't solve that players are going to choose to go to particular club's and it's been shown that club's aren't willing to recruit a player who doesn't want to be there.

Say Essendon can trade danniher to any club last year. They send him to Carlton for the remaining year of his contract, he doesn't want to be there so is even lazier, and then still wants to leave Melbourne this year. Why would Carlton do that?

The players moving isn't the problem. It's the free nature of it. If Geelong has to lose a first round pick as a result of the compensation, then that solves the problem of them getting a great player for free.
 

master bate

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Lynch was an absolute disaster. The League created a shambles of a club and created a ridiculous compensation system and one thing led to another and all of a sudden the Premiers and signing one of the best players in the competition for free.

That doesn't mean free agency itself is inherently bad.

Yes it will favour the better and wealthier teams. But if done correctly it could make sure there's a price to pay for those teams signing free agents. Greater movement will make the salary cap a stronger force of equalisation.

- Expand restricted free agency - start with 5 years
- Draftee contracts extended to 3rd year options and even a recommended incentive based wage scale for years 4 and 5, stops teams getting rorted by draft picks
- Go to unrestricted free agency at 7 years.
- Change compensation to a rolling formula of players in vs players out over 2 years with start of 3rd round picks the maximum compensation to encourage teams to spend their free salary cap
- Each club gets 1 or 2 franchise tags per year....1 year deals that can be traded or negotiated that pay a hefty amount, the last line of defence for keeping stars.

The system should be designed to make someone like Cameron work for his free agency. If he gets through year 5 and doesn't leave as a restricted free agent then there's year 7 and he can get the franchise tag and be kept or traded, then finally year 8 and he's gone. Plenty of chances to get him signed up.

But also once he does go GWS don't have to try to desperately find players around the league available for trades, everyone after year 5 is restricted and they can make their offers. If clubs want to sign big names then they won't be able to match their own restricted guys. Top clubs will be forced to top up with experienced players to compete, which means bottom clubs will get a great look at useful players forced out by big name signings.

Meanwhile the lesser clubs aren't giving away top draft picks and they know they've got their draft picks locked in at a reasonable price. They can draft a successful core whilst still grabbing useful senior players using the cap space.
 

The Final Word

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I don't think it does though. It doesn't solve that players are going to choose to go to particular club's and it's been shown that club's aren't willing to recruit a player who doesn't want to be there.

Say Essendon can trade danniher to any club last year. They send him to Carlton for the remaining year of his contract, he doesn't want to be there so is even lazier, and then still wants to leave Melbourne this year. Why would Carlton do that?

The players moving isn't the problem. It's the free nature of it. If Geelong has to lose a first round pick as a result of the compensation, then that solves the problem of them getting a great player for free.
I agree. What problem are we actually solving by forcing a player to go somewhere that he doesn't want to go?

At the risk of being seen as a bleeding heart for blokes who kick a piece of leather about while being paid and average of around $350,000, it's a bit of a campaigner-act to send someone, who may have a family mind you, somewhere that they really don't want to go. It's one thing to send a 17 year old across the country, it's another to do it to a 29 year old with a wife and maybe a kid or two.

People piping up about US sports a fair bit, guess what? NBA, NFL and MLB players receive roughly 50% of the revenue of the league. That's pretty much double the proportion of what AFL players get. They they have 10 day contracts too, why don't we get them while we're at it?
 

The Final Word

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Lynch was an absolute disaster. The League created a shambles of a club and created a ridiculous compensation system and one thing led to another and all of
- Draftee contracts extended to 3rd year options and even a recommended incentive based wage scale for years 4 and 5, stops teams getting rorted by draft picks
I really like the potential to tweak rookie contracts. Even offer salary cap relief where a rookie signs a 4 or 5 year deal. 20% off years 3, 4, 5 or whatever. Gotta be done straight away but what an incentive to lock a kid and avoid the 3rd year blues.
 

Dons4days

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Player movement in the AFL is weighted way too heavily in favour of the players. The free agency model doesn't work unless the clubs have the right to move players on without their permission.

Players have the freedom to manipulate the system to their favour no matter how much time & effort clubs put into them and more often than not it's the club that is screwed over,

The AFL needs to look at what in my opinion is a flawless player movement system that is the NBA. You have the option of 4 years minimum return on a draft prospect & once a player has paid their dues they have the right to negotiate a clause into their contract where they can't be traded, if not, it's fair game for the teams. The system also rewards loyalty by giving teams the ability to sign their own players on longer/higher contracts than what they can sign at other teams.
 

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