2023 off-contract Carlton tall Tom De Koning is said to be in no rush to recommit to the Blues beyond next year as the young key-position player weighs up his future.
De Koning is likely to be Carlton's priority re-signing next season after the Blues were able to lock away key forward pair Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay to long-term deals before they entered the final year of their respective contracts.
Those two signatures, which are now secured at Princes Park until 2029 and 2030 respectively, added to a stellar run of retentions for list manager Nick Austin, who has also secured the services of Sam Walsh, Jacob Weitering and Patrick Cripps in recent seasons.
De Koning has shown an ability to compete in the middle of the field and also move forward as an attacking target alongside the aforementioned Curnow and McKay, likely seeing the Mt Martha product gain attention from rival clubs looking to fill one or two roles.
According to The Herald Sun, the 23-year-old isn't in a hurry to re-sign with the Blues beyond next season as he likely weighs up external interest and places a focus on his football in what is touted as a likely breakout year for De Koning.
A club like Geelong, who are home to Tom's younger brother and promising defender Sam, could be one of several interested suitors for De Koning, with the Cats yet to find their long-term ruck option after several busy off-seasons.
The Kardinia Park club did acquire local talent Toby Conway with their earliest selection in last year's draft and could see the young ruckman pair with De Koning as part of their two-piece ruck tandem for the future.
Essendon, North Melbourne and Collingwood are other Victorian clubs that could look for further assistance to their ruck depths, potentially searching for a player in a similar mould to Fremantle recruit Luke Jackson.
Carlton are said to be hopeful of securing their young tall to a new deal in the early months of the new year however, looking to take any contract distractions away from De Koning's sixth season in the AFL while also securing their talented ruck-forward hybrid for the future.
The Blues have already flagged that their current financial stance for 2023 is home to little wiggle room following their star signing spree over the past 24 months, however primary talks with De Koming are underway.
Expiring deals for Mitch McGovern, Sam Docherty and Pittonet might alleviate some of the salary strain, while Jesse Motlop, Jack Silvagni, Nic Newman and Lachie Plowman are also off-contract next season.