Has Sydney bitten off more than they can chew?

On the field, they look primed to return to the grand final in 2024.

Led by key recruits Brodie Grundy and James Jordon, the Swans took down Melbourne in impressive fashion during 'Opening Round' to kick off the season.

Errol Gulden continued to dominate the wings.

Will Hayward and Logan McDonald were dangerous up forward.

Ollie Florent's versatility is impressive while his dare and speed in between the arcs was on full display.

And no one can forget the underrated James Rowbottom, who is synonymous with the Bloods way of football, with his courage and tenacity always at the fore.

The Swans also have experienced duo Taylor Adams (injured) and Joel Hamling on the sidelines, who will no doubt don the read-and-white in 2024.

So what's the issue?

Taking a glance at behind the scenes, the books, how can they all fit in?

From a list management perspective, it is shaping up to be a nightmare.

Journalist Sam Landsberger revealed that Grundy's pay cheque is larger than most people think.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 07: Brodie Grundy of the Swans runs the ball during the Opening Round AFL match between Sydney Swans and Melbourne Demons at SCG, on March 07, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Following departures from Collingwood and the Demons, the two-time All-Australian is worth "over $1,000,000 this year".

“A lot of people think he's on about $900,000 (per season), he has been throughout the duration of this seven-year contract,” Landsberger told Fox Footy's Midweek Tackle.

“It's actually a little bit more. He's definitely a million-dollar player, Brodie Grundy. I think it might be just over $1,000,000 this year.

“A lot of people thought that Sydney would be paying about $600,000 — that was what Melbourne was paying last year — it's more than that.”

The Swans are reportedly footing $700,000 to $750,000 of the Grundy bill, which will likely last through the 2027 season.

Adams is roughly on $600,000 per season and that'll last until the end of 2026.

And despite Sydney locking away some of their guns for years to come, there's a crop that has quietly crept up.

Gulden, Hayward and McDonald have been flagged by rival clubs as trade targets and reports suggest all could be worth near the $1 million mark in 2025.

AFL Rd 1 - Brisbane v Sydney
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 20: Logan McDonald of the Swans celebrates after kicking a goal during the round one AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans at The Gabba on March 20, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Rowbottom and Florent would have definite suitors despite being fully immersed in the Sydney lifestyle.

Their youth is also a talking point.

Sydney has seven players under the age of 24 who will be without a deal for 2025 and beyond and have only played three games between them.

Hamling and Jordon will also need to sign on the dotted line, that is if the Swans can keep them.

And yet, role players like Aaron Francis, Harry Cunningham, Lewis Melican, Robbie Fox and Sam Reid add another layer of complexity to the mix given they will all be out of contract come season's end.

This situation screams of a headache.

So, what to do?

Despite the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which gives clubs more salary cap space, it is hard to imagine they can keep all these players.

Not to mention, be in the hunt for Western Bulldogs forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who will be seeking a hefty dollar tag if he is to leave the Kennel.

As is most years, the AFL Trade Period is one with plenty of intrigue as club masterminds get to show off their skills.

The Swans would love to go under the radar but given the pickle they could find themselves in, that seems unlikely.