Brisbane's Hugh McCluggage will be one of the most sought-after players in the competition, with reports indicating St Kilda, Geelong, Adelaide and Essendon chasing the midfielder.

Despite the Lions' confidence in keeping McCluggage, the quartet of clubs will be forced to cough up multiple first-round picks if the Queensland-based side were to even consider a trade.

The 26-year-old would command a salary of around $1.3 million a year, according to the Herald Sun's Jay Clark, following an increase in the league's salary cap.

"Under free agency rules, a player's club can match a bid for a restricted free agent after eight years at the club, forcing a bigger return at the trade table," Clark says.

"The Lions could ask for a top-10 pick plus more, which could turn off rival clubs."

Geelong's landing of Jeremy Cameron springs to mind as a similar situation if rival clubs were to pry McCluggage out of Brisbane.

The Cats were forced to give up picks 13, 15 and 20 to the Giants for Cameron and two second-round picks in return.

The Saints and Crows are in desperate need of some polish around the ball, which is something McCluggage has in spades.

Unlucky not to make the team, the Lion has featured in four All-Australian squads since being take with Pick 3 in the 2016 draft and oozes class both on the wing and in the midfield.

Teammate and best friend Jarrod Berry also comes out of contract as a restricted free agent, with clubs keeping an eye on him.

BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - MAY 11: Hugh McCluggage of the Lions celebrates a goal with Jarrod Berry of the Lions (R) during the 2019 AFL round 08 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions at Mars Stadium on May 11, 2019 in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

However, according to AFL Media's Cal Twomey, the Lions have out forward a deal and are waiting for a response.

"Brisbane has made an offer to keep him. Expect those talks to get moving a little more in the coming, maybe more in the mid-year," Twomey said on SEN.

“He's obviously pretty settled in Queensland where his brother (Tom) is at Gold Coast as well as other family up there.

“Rivals are keeping an eye on it wondering if the promise of more midfield minutes and centre bounce time could sway him, but the Lions have an offer in front of him.