Zaine Cordy and Ben Brown during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

Jason Johannisen and Zaine Cordy do not have a locked-in contract at the Western Bulldogs next year and may be able to flourish at a rival club as their future remains in the balance.

The pair are both free agents and have the opportunity to move on and secure a better deal. It may lead to an opportunity for a longer contract with better money than the Dogs can offer.

Johannisen has his valuable speed and premiership experience, while Cordy has the aspects of a key defender that almost every club is after.

Key defenders that can intercept mark are only becoming more valuable, with the likes of Tom Stewart and Brayden Maynard making the key defender position a more valuable asset now than ever before.

The seemingly imminent recruitment of Rory Lobb and Liam Jones has made a spot for contracts tighter at the Kennel, as reported by The Herald Sun.

Coach Luke Beveridge is looking to fill that key defender position at the Dogs, and Cordy is not high on the list. Jones returning to the club makes the decision to re-sign the key defender much more difficult.

Cordy has played 116 matches at the AFL level, 12 being this year, and he has played in the last three rounds. His athleticism and intercept marking will be highly sought after if he does not sign on.

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - OCTOBER 01: Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs holds his Norm Smith and Premiership medals after the 2016 AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 1, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Johannisen, a 2016 premiership player along with Cordy, as well as a Norm Smith medallist, has paused contract negotiations with the Dogs for now as he wants to keep all options on the table. He has played seven matches at the AFL level this season, and has been overcoming an ankle injury in recent weeks.

His speed and ability to be versatile all over the ground makes his skill set valuable for teams, able to play as a running defender or further up the ground.

Johannisen was picked 39th overall in the 2010 Rookie Draft from WAFL side East Fremantle.

As Johannisen looks to keep his options open, he may look to make his way back to the West, and finish up his career back where it was ignited.

Beveridge has been open about re-signing Johannisen, however, he will be looking to try and get the most out of what is left of his AFL career.

No clubs have been linked to either Johannisen or Cordy, but they're likely be on a list come the 2023 season.