The Gold Coast Suns are understood to be preparing a four-year contract for Essendon captain Dyson Heppell from 2023.

Heppell has been closely linked to the Carrara club in the past week after reports emerged the veteran defender had gained interest from the Suns amid uncertainty around his future with the Bombers.

Essendon have tabled a one-year extension to Heppell for next season, a deal that would take the 30-year-old into his 13th season in red and black.

Although, the offer has been touted as underwhelming for Heppell, with the Suns now looking to swoop in on his services.

Initial reports suggested Gold Coast could edge out the Bombers with a two-year deal of their own, however, SEN's Sam Edmund is reporting that the Suns could hand Heppell a further two years on top of that deal to keep the Leongatha product in a coaching capacity.

Edmund's report suggests Heppell would continue his tenure at the Suns after retiring, taking on an assistant coaching job in Queensland.

It is understood that the Suns aren't seen as the leading suitor for Heppell, with the Bombers skipper tipped to be more inclined to remain at Tullamarine, while no offer from Gold Coast is formally on the table as of yet.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Ben Hobbs and Dyson Heppell of the Bombers look dejected after a loss during the 2022 AFL Round 05 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium on April 17, 2022 In Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Heppell has played 211 games for the Bomber since his debut season in 2011 and was handed the captaincy in 2017.

The midfielder-turned-defender turned his back on free agency in 2019 to sign a new two-year deal with the Bombers, with that contract now coming to its conclusion.

Heppell will be an unrestricted free agent this year, meaning the Bombers won't be able to match any offer from a rival club and force a trade.

They have been able to secure several key signatures throughout the course of 2022, including new deals for Nik Cox, Kyle Langford, Andrew McGrath, Archie Perkins and Nick Hind.

The Bombers will be looking to return to winning ways this Sunday when they host Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium at 4:40pm (AEST).