The opinions and views in this article are those of the author, and not the club.
Paperwork for at least four on-the-move stars could be lodged as early as Friday when the AFL's free agency window opens.
But a decision from Hawthorn's triple-premiership wingman Isaac Smith on his future remains up in the air as he mulls offers from Melbourne and Geelong.
It is understood the Hawks and Cats rivalry throughout Smith’s career is playing on his mind as the electric wingman contemplates a move down the highway.
Smith's decision will also have repercussions on Hawthorn's free agency move for Kyle Hartigan from Adelaide.
Hawthorn will sign Hartigan, but if Smith leaves as a free agent the Hawks could be force to pick up the Crows defender under a trade deal to avoid diluting their free agency compensation. If Smith stays then the club is expected to sign Hartigan as an unrestricted free agent on a two-year deal.
Carlton is expected to officially nominate Giants midfielder Zac Williams as a free agent, while Brisbane is likely to put in its official offer for Essendon star Joe Daniher when the gates are opened by the League.
Adelaide's Rory Atkins will be able to automatically join the Suns as an unrestricted free agent once Gold Coast formalises his deal on Friday, with Atkins having already been spending time in Queensland in recent weeks.
North Melbourne is also expected to lodge its offer for Giants defender Aidan Corr on Friday.
St Kilda is unlikely to lodge its offer to Brad Crouch on Friday as it works through the details of its deal, while the Cats are unsure if their paperwork will be put in for Giants gun Jeremy Cameron on opening day, or also will be a little later into the free agency period.
Brisbane's offer to Daniher is expected to be a term of three or four years, with Essendon hoping the level of the contract triggers a first-round compensation pick (which would sit at No.7 overall).
While Geelong waits on Smith, it’s also waiting on an answer from veteran defender Harry Taylor about his future, however fellow free agent Tom Hawkins has sealed a two-year deal.
At Brisbane, Grant Birchall has met a trigger for 2021 and will play on taking him off the free agency list, while Stef Martin has to wait for list sizes to be finalised before a new deal is arranged.
Essendon has a one-year trigger on the table for Martin Gleeson as he assesses his options, while Will Snelling and Jacob Townsend will have to wait through trade period to know their fate.
Small forward Boyd Woodcock remains Port Adelaide's only free agent, but is expected to earn a new deal on either the senior or rookie list, dependent on the breakdown of list sizes.
Bachar Houli has indicated he will re-sign a one-year deal at Richmond despite interest from Essendon, while Collingwood, North Melbourne, St Kilda and Sydney are without pending free agents.
At West Coast, Brendon Ah Chee and Mark Hutchings have been made to wait and their future will be dependent on list sizes.
Western Bulldogs defender Taylor Duryea is in talks with the club over an extension, however the futures of Jackson Trengove, Ryan Gardner, Roarke Smith, Matt Suckling and Billy Gowers appear dependent on list sizes and what the club gains during the trade period.
Dockers veteran David Mundy wants to play on in 2021, but no contract has been sorted as next year's list size continues to be thrashed out. At Carlton, Eddie Betts has signed a new deal, while former Tiger Callum Moore waits to know his future.
The free agency period runs from October 30-November 6. – Callum Twomey, Mitch Cleary, Riley Beveridge
Flag Tiger edging closer to new deal
Triple premiership defender Nathan Broad is working towards a new deal to stay at Richmond.
The out-of-contract 27-year-old had been canvassing interest from rival clubs with Gold Coast showing inquiring on his services earlier this season.
However, AFL.com.au understands Broad is now in the process of sorting a fresh contract to extend his stay at Punt Road.
Tigers teammate Oleg Markov has strong interest from the Suns over a move north to replace retiring Irishman Pearce Hanley and Jarrod Harbrow, who is entering the twilight of his career.
From two McDonalds to none at Melbourne?
A trimmed-down Tom McDonald will be forced to wait on decisions from other key forwards including Ben Brown before he settles on his next destination.
Melbourne's pursuit of Brown has made a "pretty clear statement" that McDonald is expendable in the Demons' plans for 2021, according to his agent.
McDonald, 28, has two years remaining on his contract at the Demons but is canvassing interest from other clubs.
"(The) club's been great being upfront saying, 'There's a spot for you here, you're contracted, but there may not be as many opportunities'," Alex McDonald of Hemisphere Management told Trade Radio.
"That will probably play out I would imagine once the first key deals fall into place, what the opportunities might look like for Tom."
The Demons are targeting Brown on a lucrative contract after he was told he was no longer required by North Melbourne.
McDonald has already started his fitness regime ahead of next season, shaving several kilograms off his frame in order to have more impact around the ground.
"I think it makes a pretty clear statement if Ben (Brown) does come to the club, his agent said.
"If he gets his weight down, he can be a little bit more mobile, I imagine Ben's (Brown) playing only one position so Tom would have to play elsewhere or move to another club.
"He (Tom) probably played a little heavier than he normally does (in 2020), that was to play a more physical role in the contest. He's already dropped two or three kilos, he was up over 100."
Tom's brother and Demons defender Oscar McDonald remains without a contract for next season and is likely to be up for grabs as a delisted free agent.
Hemisphere Management also looks after Collingwood wingman Tom Phillips with the contracted midfielder on the table for rival clubs this Trade Period.
The 24-year-old has been informed by coach Nathan Buckley and list manager Ned Guy that his opportunities to continue on the wing have "dried up" given the emergence of Josh Daicos.
ARC to play central role in Trade Period
The AFL's Review Centre, which has been used throughout the season for goal-line umpiring decisions, will this year become the trade and free agency hub.
At least for the early part of this year's free agency and trade periods, the AFL will set up its base in the ARC where clubs will be able to lodge deals online.
It is a far different situation from the standard trade period where new deals and free agency offers were taken to AFL House in person by list and recruiting managers, however the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 means the transactions will be applied in a virtual setting this year.
The ARC, powered by RMIT, will host the AFL's decision-makers who tick off on deals. – Callum Twomey
Swans shut down Aliir move
Port Adelaide's move for Aliir Aliir has reached an impasse, with Sydney blocking the club's first attempts at luring the contracted defender to Alberton.
Power footy boss Chris Davies revealed on Thursday that the club's interest in Aliir had "hit a closed door", though confirmed this season's minor premiers had asked the question of the versatile 26-year-old.
The Swans are still searching for a ruckman during this year's Trade Period and are understood to have enquired about Scott Lycett and particularly Peter Ladhams in a potential deal for Aliir.
However, with Port Adelaide unwilling to move any of its ruck options – and with Ladhams determined to stay at his boyhood side after recommitting until 2022 last year – the deal has hit a significant roadblock.
"I know the discussion between (Port Adelaide list manager) Jason Cripps and (Sydney list manager) Kinnear Beatson was a very brief one with regards to Aliir," Davies told Trade Radio.
"It was a question that was asked about the potential for him to be looking to move, or for Sydney to want to move him. I think the reality is that it's hit a closed door.
"In respect to Sydney, Aliir is a Sydney player and unless that changed I think that has probably been discussed enough. But it's fair to say we did ask about him."
Port Adelaide has indicated its desire to keep three full-time ruckmen on its list ahead of 2021, with developing youngster Sam Hayes also at the club but having not yet made his AFL debut after rupturing his ACL midway through 2018.
It's left Sydney scouring the market for alternative options in the ruck, with experienced West Coast big man Tom Hickey believed to be under consideration as the club enters the Trade Period. - Riley Beveridge
In other news
- St Kilda midfielder Jack Bytel re-signed for two years through to the end of 2022.
- Melbourne's Charlie Spargo extended his deal until the end of 2022 while fellow Demon Marty Hore added an extra year to his stay at the club until the end of 2021.
The opinions and views in this article are those of the author, and not the club.