Essendon players during the AFL match between Essendon and Adelaide, Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media

Essendon is primed to dominate the off-season after a somewhat quieter 2021 trade and free agency period.

Having lost Joe Daniher, Adam Saad and Orazio Fantasia to other clubs, Essendon have since consolidated its list by extending stars Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, Jake Stringer, and Jordan Ridley.

According to, Essendon sits pretty with an outstanding salary cap position, thanks to the aforementioned key departures.

A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is due to be struck at the conclusion of 2022, likely to result in a spending spree as new contracts are struck.

Andrew McGrath, Dyson Heppell, Michael Hurley and the rookie trio of Cox, Reid and Perkins loom as key signatures beyond 2022 for Essendon.

As for targets, the outstanding forward available to flesh out Essendon's forward line is Daniel McStay, who has already gained significant interest from a Victorian club. Failing the big fish, chances afforded to Melbourne forward Sam Weideman could see the 24-year-old attract interest after he was impressive against the Bombers.

Both South Australian clubs are also expected to be in strong salary cap positions this season, along with the rebuilding Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

Collingwood, Fremantle and Sydney, in the last year of Lance Franklin's enormous contract, are also in a good position to attack the 2022 off-season.

Meanwhile, Magpie Josh Daicos is one Pie yet to be re-signed, with the talented wingman yet to begin conversations on a new deal beyond the 2022 season.


Darcy Moore, Brayden Maynard, Isaac Quaynor, Jack Ginnivan, Beau McCreery, Reef McInnes and Charlie Dean have all been extended recently by the Magpies, but the 23-year-old seems unlikely to be added to that list any time soon.

It would be some shock if Daicos, having been joined by his brother Nick at Collingwood, left the Magpies - but Collingwood seems to have a bit of work to do to secure the wingman's signature for seasons to come.