AFL's Free Agent circus kicks off today

The 2016 Free Agent trade period circus kicks off today with 23 players available to be traded, picked up, swapped like cars and generally going wherever they like for the biggest pay packet they can get, according to the AFL. Some of the players on the list have already declared destinations, while a number of players are at the end of their careers.

To kick things off, five players have already been delisted by their clubs, Fremantle's Matt DeBoer and Clancee Pearce, Melbourne's former captain Jack Grimes, and rather publicly on the eve of the finals, North Melbourne's Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie. Once a player has been delisted, no compensation is available.

Players like Brent Harvey (who has declared that he's going to play at local level next season), Jimmy Bartel and Will Minson, who still want to play at AFL level, are likely to retire from AFL senior football.

Then there's the players likely to continue with their clubs next season, such as Scott Thompson in a player/coach capacity, since he's been told that his playing opportunities will be limited, even though he's still their best ball winner.

Jarryd Blair, Paul Stewart, and Sam Fisher haven't made much noise about contract, nor have their clubs. It's possible that they could be offered contracts after the free agency period if they aren't picked up. Time will tell. That leads into Mitch Brown and Sam Butler who've been told by their club that they want to extend their contracts, right at the end of September mind you. It's more than likely that they're testing their value in the market.

Fortunately, the Swans have made sure that all of their contracts are locked up right for this year's circus with only uncontracted players the issue. So what players could the Swans be interested in? With players like Ty Vickery declaring for none other than Hawthorn, Mitch Brown still being pursued by his club and Brent Harvey declaring for North Heidelberg, the brave chap, it doesn't leave a lot for the Swans to chase.

Collingwood have declared that they're going after Daniel Wells, rumoured to be around 600k/season, while Tom Lonergan is yet to declare for any club, but certainly won't retire. I like Lonergan, he's a great defender and if the Swans needed depth, he's the guy I would go after. With Aliir Aliir coming through so strongly, it's doubtful that the Swans will go after him, unless they lose a key defender to a season-long injury before the window slams shut.

The Swans could look at Matt DeBoer, Clancee Pearce, Paul Stewart and Ricky Henderson as depth players who would have to earn their stripes in the reserves. Most of the key position players are either too old or injury prone and will be too expensive. Will Minson won't even be able to get off the ground.

Most likely the Swans won't play ball in this trade period and will watch it with an amused grin as Collingwood fall over themselves to recruit as many North Melbourne castaways as they can, while telling themselves they're a genuine premiership threat. And I still can't figure out why Hawthorn would bother with the ultimate dirt bag Vickery, known to knock players out in ruck contests, or applying a rear naked choke in a wrestle. Not to mention his last 12 months looked like he was playing from the touch footy rulebook.

Full list of restricted and unrestricted free agents

Player Club
Ricky Henderson Adelaide
Scott Thompson Adelaide
Dennis Armfield Carlton
Jarryd Blair Collingwood
Nathan Brown Collingwood
Courtnay Dempsey Essendon
Zac Clark Fremantle
Matt DeBoer Fremantle
Chris Mayne Fremantle
Clancee Pearce Fremantle
Jimmy Bartel Geelong
Tom Lonergan Geelong
Jack Grimes Melbourne
Brent Harvey North Melbourne
Drew Petrie North Melbourne
Daniel Wells North Melbourne
Paul Stewart Port Adelaide
Ty Vickery Richmond
Sam Fisher St Kilda
Mitch Brown West Coast
Sam Butler West Coast
Matthew Boyd Western Bulldogs
Will Minson Western Bulldogs

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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