Heppell was presented a one-year extension by the Bombers, but remains underwhelmed by its duration, according to leading AFL journalist Damian Barrett.
"It’s a strange one. His form has been OK,” Barrett said on Triple M Melbourne.
"He’s stayed with Essendon throughout the entire problems they’ve had. And he’s been well imbursed to do so beyond the drugs saga.
"There’s an offer to him to play in 2023 as a Bomber. But it’s not from what I’ve been told to his near liking.
"What we have now established is other interest from other clubs.
"As we speak with four games to go of this season, there is a chance. I’d say it’s a 50-50 chance that he will be exploring options outside of Essendon, unless they improve the offer.”
Heppell will be out of contract and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Essendon coach Ben Rutten confirmed that the club wants Heppell to play on next season.
"We absolutely want him at our club next year."
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) July 18, 2022
But his presence at the Bombers will seemingly come down club loyalty or chasing a lengthier career extension.
"It might be if he wants to extend his career two or three more years," he said.
"It does become a situation where you do turn 30 where you start going: ‘OK well clubs are now (saying) we are not going to give you a lot of money and a lot of contract because we’ve got others we need to play’.
"It’s up to the player whether he wants to stay at the one club, be loyal and know that maybe he’ll be a fringe player.”
The 14th-placed Bombers have had a resurgent month of football, including three wins from their last four games - against quality sides in Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast - but it has largely been to no avail given their poor start to the season.
The club is reportedly shaping the capacity to attract a big-name player in the off-season.
Heppell has played 209 games for the club since debuting in 2011.