AFL trades 2020: Jeremy Cameron Geelong contract offer, Giants weigh up matching bid on free agent, rumours, whispers
Ex-Giants list boss Stephen Silvagni on Friday afternoon encouraged his former club to match Geelong’s offer to free agent Jeremy Cameron to avoid a potentially “embarrassing” contract scenario.
But there mightn’t be much shame in opting not to match the Cats’ Cameron deal, which is reportedly now more significant than first thought.
The Giants this weekend will ponder making AFL history and becoming the first club to officially match a rival club’s bid on a restricted free agent after the Cats officially lodged paperwork for Cameron on Friday night.
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Geelong’s contract, however, appears substantial, with multiple reports suggesting Cameron has been offered close to $1 million per season.
7 News Melbourne reported the deal was close to $1 million, while the Herald Sun on Friday night reported Geelong had tabled a five-year, $4.75 million deal, which averages out to around $950,000 per year. The latter report also suggested a sixth season could be included should Cameron reach a games trigger clause in the fifth year or his deal.
The offer is significantly less than the Giants’ deal to the 2019 Coleman Medallist, which was a five-year deal worth around $3.5 million.
Now the Giants face a conundrum as to whether to match Geelong’s bid.
If they don’t, the Giants would almost certainly receive a first-round compensation pick, which would land after their natural opening selection. That would be Pick 12 after their own compensation for losing Zac Williams to Carlton and Essendon’s compensation for losing Joe Daniher to Brisbane.
But Silvagni said from a Giants’ perspective, there would be a sense of humiliation if Cameron left them for a bigger contract from another club and they only received a first-round selection in return.
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Speaking on Friday afternoon prior to Geelong’s official paperwork lodgement and Cameron’s contract details emerged, Silvagni said the Giants should match the offer – unless it was exorbitant.
“I think with the Giants, depending on what the amount is, they probably will match whatever the figure is,” Silvagni told AFL Trade Radio. “Unless it’s over a million dollars … but it probably won’t be.
“I think what will be embarrassing for the Giants is that if he’s actually left for less money than what the Giants have offered for him.
“When I’m talking less, say it might be $800,000 (contract) that you can get a compensation first-round pick aligned to where you finished on the ladder. But it’s less money than what the Giants have actually offered and have been paying. So it might be $700,000 – does that get a first-round pick? It might get an end of first-round pick. So in that situation, the Giants will have to match because they can’t walk away with an end of first round pick for Jeremy Cameron.
“I’ve got no doubt that they have to match the offer and I’m pretty sure whatever way, even if they did match the offer, they’d be able to fit him in cap and do something with their total player payments to get a better deal out of it.”
The Giants will now weigh up their options.
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But Silvagni urged the club to figure out a way to ensure they acquire ready-made players as a result of losing Cameron, whether it’s matching the offer to force a trade or accepting the compensation pick but negotiating a separate trade.
Silvagni’s opinion is based off his concern around this year’s national draft crop, particularly aspiring AFL players based in Victoria, not receiving the same exposure as previous seasons due to the pandemic.
“The thing that I worry about – and I don’t know this draft well – draft picks can be everything and a lot of clubs love draft picks. But this is a very unique period that we do not know how good this draft is and how deep it goes and what we’re missing out on.
“If you can get the pick and bring a young player through the door that you know is going to be a very good player because he’s been able to do it at VFL level and you’ve seen him … because you’ve done your homework.”