The star midfielder is currently weighing up his future, with the Giants, Blues and Hawks all in the mix to secure his signature.
And the club’s salary cap structure could see the first year of his deal heavily front-ended.
“I’ve just posted a story polling nine rival list managers across the competition and the strong feel from seven of them is that Stephen Coniglio will be at Carlton in 2020,” Cleary told AFL Nation.
“It would be a heavily front-ended deal. We’re looking at a six or seven year deal at the Blues and it could be as much as $2 million dollars in that first season because of the underspend the Blues have created.
“The way this works is clubs can pay 95 per cent in consecutive years and then that allows them in the corresponding years after that to pay 105 per cent (of the salary cap).
“They went after Shiel last year and missed him with a million dollars. So the money the Blues have got to play with is that high, that this could be a front-ended deal that then gets smoothed out.
“It would smooth out at about $1.2 or $1.3 million per-season.
“In the polling of those nine list managers, one made a great point that he’s had the chance to sign at the Giants in the last seven or eight weeks and he hasn’t done that.”