MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Kaine Baldwin of the Bombers in action during the Essendon Bombers training session at The Hangar on May 06, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Essendon's Kaine Baldwin is understood to be under the watchful eye of multiple rival clubs.

Baldwin was recruited to a rookie contract through the 2020 Supplemental Selection Period as a key forward but has since transitioned into defence, particularly this season. Since joining the back six, he has averaged 17 disposals and approximately three intercept marks per game.

In recent times, he has hit a new patch of form that has seen his influence at VFL level as a defender soar, which ultimately led to his selection in Round 22 against GWS.

He has only played seven games for the Bombers and hasn't been the first option for the senior side. Over his short career thus far, he has averaged 11.7 disposals, 1.3 tackles, and 3.7 spoils

However, there is a complication for Essendon will have to decide what they do with Baldwin since he has spent the maximum three years as a rookie, with the Bombers needing to promote him to the primary list if they opt to re-sign him.

The 21-year-old's contract expires after the 2023 season, a situation which has reportedly piqued some interest from rivals, according to The Age.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Kaine Baldwin of the Bombers in action during the Essendon Bombers training session at The Hangar on May 06, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Whether he stays or goes will be an intriguing decision for the Bombers as Essendon look to build their backline over the off-season after flagging interest in North Melbourne defender Ben McKay, having also re-signed Mason Redman, and uncertainty over whether Brandon Zerk-Thatcher will also be re-signed.

He could be a potential piece of the puzzle for sides looking for a key forward or defender and could be a major asset for the upcoming trade period at Tullamarine.