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Every AFL club's trade and free agency period graded

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Footy's silly season has come and gone, with some big names moving clubs, picks being shuffled, and fans either being left feeling satisfied or shortchanged!

ESPN expert Chris Doerre has broken down the AFL free agency and trade period, and what they have gained/lost ahead of the draft.


Adelaide

In: Izak Rankine, pick 46, Collingwood's 2023 third round selection and Fremantle's 2023 fourth round selection

Out: Billy Frampton, Picks 5 and Adelaide's 2023 third and fourth round selections

2022 draft picks: 23, 46

Grade: C

Rationale: Adelaide secured their target in Izak Rankine. While the Crows conceded pick five in the deal and worsened their 2023 draft hand, Rankine's finish to 2022 and scope for further improvement justify the valuation. Expect Rankine's improvement to continue and for him to not only provide x-factor to the front half but for his midfield minutes to gradually grow.

Adelaide's trade of Billy Frampton may be one the Crows come to regret. A 2023 third round selection on paper may seem like a reasonable return for Frampton, though with his SANFL form and glimpses shown in his stretch of games at AFL level this year, there is a good chance he becomes a regular key defender for Collingwood in 2023.

Brisbane

In: Josh Dunkley, Jack Gunston, picks 35 (compensation for Dan McStay), 36, 38, 55, 56, Geelong's 2023 second round selection and Western Bulldogs 2023 third round selection

Out: Dan McStay, Tom Berry, picks 15, 46, Western Bulldogs 2023 first, second and fourth round selections

2022 draft picks: 34, 35, 36, 38, 55, 56, 73

Grade: A+

Rationale: Brisbane's objectives entering the trade period were to secure Josh Dunkley and Jack Gunston while ensuring enough picks would be in place so that bids can be matched on father-son prospects Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher. Mission accomplished.

With Brisbane's 2023 first round selection, the only first round selection conveyed in their trade for Josh Dunkley, Brisbane stole the 2022 best and fairest winner from Western Bulldogs. Dunkley will not only provide Lachie Neale with an elite second ball winner as support but also offer Brisbane with a much-needed defensive identity with the tackling and pressure he applies.

The addition of Jack Gunston is an upgrade on Dan McStay and will provide Brisbane with a big-3 up forward like we haven't seen from them since Alistair Lynch, Daniel Bradshaw and Jonathan Brown. With minimal draft capital required to secure Gunston, Brisbane pulled off one of the heists of the trade period.

Importantly throughout the trade period, Brisbane prioritised adding to their 2022 draft hand with many mid-draft picks secured with a view towards positioning themselves to secure Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher as father-son selections.

The losses of Dan McStay and Tom Berry are of little consequence to Brisbane. The addition of Gunston would have seen McStay lose his spot in the front half. While Berry with the addition of Dunkley and soon through the draft Ashcroft, who the Lions will match bids on, has no path to a regular best 22 position. Additionally, the contract McStay was able to attract was unrealistic for Brisbane to retain given their planned list additions while the return received in the Berry to Gold Coast trade was unexpectedly strong for a fringe player.

The final component of Brisbane's trade period deserving acclaim was how Brisbane were able to secure their trade targets and enough picks on paper. It seemed an impossible task prior to the trade period without trading away at least one important player. Brisbane achieved their desired trade outcomes due to arguably favourable deals being reached, with each move made in such a calculated way as to ensure Brisbane's 2022 draft hand from a draft points perspective would be sufficiently healthy.

Carlton

In: Blake Acres, Pick 49 (Compensation for Liam Jones) and Essendon's 2023 fourth round selection

Out: Liam Jones, Will Setterfield, pick 68 and Carlton 2023 third round selection

2022 draft picks: 10, 29, 49, 66

Grade: B

Rationale: One of the best value additions of the offseason, Blake Acres for a future third round selection is a terrific list addition as an outside midfielder who immediately improves Carlton's best 22.

The loss of Liam Jones as a free agent for little compensation while long expected and better than no compensation was nonetheless an unfortunate loss for the Blues as one of the competition's best intercept marks and one-on-one defenders.

The loss of Will Setterfield will not impact Carlton beyond depth as there was never going to be a clear path to a best 22 spot with the depth and strength of Carlton's inside midfielders. The value received is disappointing given the strength of Setterfield's play when used as an inside midfielder, but it was difficult to avoid given his list standing as a depth piece.

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Collingwood

In: Tom Mitchell, Billy Frampton, Dan McStay, Bobby Hill, picks 25, 27

Out: Brodie Grundy, Ollie Henry, picks 43, 50, Collingwood 2023 second and third round selections

2022 draft picks: 16, 25, 27, 51

Grade: B+

Rationale: Collingwood's trade of Brodie Grundy was one of the major talking points and ultimately a move that opened salary cap space to allow Collingwood to add several opposition players. The return of pick 27 does not do justice to the impact Grundy provides. While Collingwood will pay a small portion of Grundy's contract, the positive for the Magpies is that the size and length of Grundy's contract is off the books, saving Collingwood from potential future difficulty. At the same time though, the unfortunate aspect of Collingwood losing Grundy is that he is exactly the piece Collingwood missed during the finals with how influential he is at stoppages.

The important addition for Collingwood that saves them from what otherwise would have been a PR nightmare was the addition of Brownlow Medallist, Tom Mitchell. Mitchell will add much needed experience, competitiveness and ball winning to Collingwood's midfield. With Hawthorn paying a part of Mitchell's salary and with Collingwood not only able to add Mitchell but also move up the draft, Collingwood can be viewed as winners of the deal if Mitchell maintains his high standard of play.

Ollie Henry was a part of the deal that sent Tom Mitchell to Collingwood. While Henry was an unfortunate loss, the reality for Henry was that there was no immediate clear path to a best 22 position for Collingwood in the short term which means he likely will be better off joining Geelong.

The addition of Dan McStay as a free agent is contractually a pricey one but his addition is nonetheless a handy one. McStay will offer Collingwood a further competitive key forward and will also be handy for the versatility and flexibility he will offer the Pies.

Based on his SANFL form and brief stint at AFL level last year for Adelaide, Billy Frampton looks good enough to provide Darcy Moore with a low cost but capable key defence partner. What surprised from Frampton in his stretch of games for Adelaide at AFL level was the rebound from defence he provided. His rebounding capabilities should continue to allow Collingwood to play an exciting brand of football and cause problems for opposition teams on the rebound.

The addition of Bobby Hill fits into the nice to have category as a speedster who fits Collingwood stylistically but will need to work hard to earn regular best 22 selection. The cost of acquiring Hill was on the high side given he will be contending for a best 22 spot rather than the automatic inclusion some may assume.

Essendon

In: Will Setterfield, Sam Weideman, picks 54, 68 and 72 and Sydney's 2023 fourth round selection

Out: Aaron Francis, picks 42 and Essendon's 2023 fourth round selection

2022 draft picks: 4, 22, 54, 62, 68, 72

Grade: B

Rationale: With Will Setterfield poorly utilised by Carlton and with no clear path to a best 22 position given the strength of the Blues inside midfielders, Essendon have been able to acquire Setterfield at no meaningful cost. The key for the Bombers to get the best out of Setterfield and give him the chance to establish himself as a regular best 22 piece will be to utilise him as an inside midfielder. Being added for no meaningful cost, the addition of Setterfield is worth the chance as someone with scope to establish himself as a best 22 player if he receives regular senior opportunity in his preferred position.

The departure of Aaron Francis for Essendon is inconsequential given he has not been able to establish himself as a best 22 player. Getting drafted in 2015 and still unable to earn regular senior games, it's time for Francis to move on and try his luck elsewhere.

Essendon's final trade was for former top-10 selection and depth key forward Sam Weideman. With Peter Wright, Jake Stringer and Harrison Jones respectively capable key forwards, Weideman most likely will be as at Melbourne relegated to depth unless he can recreate himself as a key defender. With Weideman projecting as depth at this stage, the price paid was more expensive than should be required.

Fremantle

In: Luke Jackson, Jaeger O'Meara, Josh Corbett, picks 30, 44, 67, North Melbourne 2023 second and third round assistance package selections, North Melbourne's fourth round selection, Gold Coast's 2023 fourth round selection, Carlton 2023 third round selection and Hawthorn's 2023 fourth round selection

Out: Lloyd Meek, Rory Lobb, Blake Acres, Griffin Logue, Darcy Tucker, picks 13, Fremantle's 2023 first, second, third and fourth round selections

2022 draft picks: 30, 44, 67, 76

Grade: B+

Rationale: Fremantle's acquisition of Luke Jackson was one of the great additions this trade period. One of the competition's premier young talls, Fremantle secured Jackson for a great price. If Fremantle finish inside the top 8 again next season, they won't have conveyed so much as one top 10 pick to get the deal done.

With Lloyd Meek requesting a trade to Hawthorn due to having no path to a best 22 position behind Sean Darcy and the newly added Luke Jackson, Fremantle smartly took advantage of Hawthorn's desire to get younger by securing Jaeger O'Meara and adding him to their midfield. Hawthorn secured the better pick in the exchange and may find Meek provides the greater long-term value, though the key with the deal as in any good trade is that it was beneficial for both teams.

The addition of Josh Corbett up forward is a solid one given the price point as a strong marking tall forward who can take pressure off Matt Taberner as a capable second or third marking option able to play at AFL level as needed.

Of Fremantle's other departing players, the loss of Blake Acres as a best- 22 player for a future third round selection is disappointing compensation. The return received for Rory Lobb was suitable for someone of his calibre at his age and stage, with the future second round choice received helping the Dockers with securing O'Meara.

The picks received for Griffin Logue and Darcy Tucker should be viewed as roughly fair value.

Geelong

In: Jack Bowes, Tanner Bruhn, Ollie Henry, pick 7

Out: Cooper Stephens, picks 18, 38, 48, 55 and Geelong's 2023 second, third and fourth round selection

2022 draft picks: 7, 58, 64

Grade: A+

Rationale: In the trade of the trade period, and one with the scope to go down in the record books as one of the all-time lopsided deals, Geelong's acquisition of Jack Bowes and pick 7 for a 2023 3rd round selection is one for the ages. Geelong have done the impossible, extending Bowes' deal to minimise the salary cap hit from the salary dump. Bowes whether used through the midfield, in defence or as a forward can add to the Cats best 22 while Geelong's pick 7 is the earliest the club have had since selecting Joel Selwood with pick 7 in 2006. The bonus for the Cats is that pick 7 is a sweet spot in this draft where the quality of talent is not dissimilar to the opportunity clubs have available to them inside the top three.

Geelong's acquisition of Tanner Bruhn and Ollie Henry respectively can be viewed as roughly fair value. The pair respectively being former first round selections introduce good young talent to a team that just won the Grand Final with the oldest team to ever appear in AFL/VFL history.

The departure of depth midfielder Cooper Stephens to Hawthorn and a combination of picks given up during the trade period are of little consequence to the Cats who just secured three players with the scope to add to their best 22 and a top-10 pick who could be a fourth.

Geelong should also be credited for not moving on Esava Ratugolea. While Ratugolea has struggled as a key forward and ruckman to play a consistent brand of football, his scope to develop into a key defender is worth exploring further given his contested marking capabilities and physical and athletic attributes.

Gold Coast

In: Ben Long, Tom Berry, pick 5, GWS's 2023 second round selection, Adelaide's 2023 third and fourth round selections, Geelong's 2023 third round selection and St Kilda's 2023 4th round selection

Out: Izak Rankine, Jack Bowes, Josh Corbett, Picks 7, 25, 32, 36, 56

2022 draft picks: 5, 45, 71, 74

Grade: F

Rationale: Gold Coast's salary dump of Jack Bowes is arguably the most lopsided trade since the trade period was introduced. Gold Coast have struggled retaining talent over the years and getting into a salary cap situation where they feel the need to move a local Queensland talent for salary cap reasons and a top-10 pick as an incentive to take on the remaining two years of his deal is an incredible situation to get into for a club yet to make a top 8 appearance.

Gold Coast's justification is that they plan to secure 'name' opposition talents over the next two offseason and don't want to wait to have the salary cap space available to make some big plays. This may be the opportunity for the Suns to redeem themselves though with no 'big name' opposition talents recruited this offseason, the Suns likely would have been better served holding Bowes for another year, with a salary dump if required next year due to one less year remaining on Bowes' contract making his contract less unattractive.

The loss of Izak Rankine is a setback for immediate on-field performance which is what the Suns can least afford given their struggles with attracting opposition talent and building up a sufficient base of talent. Fortunately for the Suns though the return received can be viewed as roughly fair value.

The departure of Josh Corbett for the Suns for no meaningful return is of little consequence as he was outside the club's best 22.

The two players requesting trades to the Suns and finding their way there were Ben Long and Tom Berry. In both respective deals the prices paid were steep as two speculative players the Suns will be hoping can develop into long term best 22 pieces.

With Academy prospects Jed Walter, Jake Rogers and Ethan Read looking promising for next years draft, it is disappointing despite the Suns loading up on 2023 picks that they were unable to secure any selections inside the first or second round of next year's draft.

What the Suns can be credited for is holding onto the talented Jeremy Sharp who no reasonable offers were made for.

GWS

In: Toby Bedford, Picks 1, 15, 18, 19, 31, 57 and Richmond's 2023 first round selection

Out: Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Tanner Bruhn, Bobby Hill, picks 3, 21, 44, 63 and GWS 2023 second round selection

2022 draft picks: 1, 15, 18, 19, 31, 57, 61

Grade: E+

Rationale:

The most consequential pick swap in AFL history arguably took place in the Jason Horne-Francis trade whereby GWS secured pick 1. This is the first time pick 1 has been traded since 2001 when Fremantle traded pick 1 to Hawthorn and Luke Hodge was the first player drafted. The Giants have very deliberately moved up to pick 1 with what is believed to be the plan of drafting Greater Western Victoria key forward Aaron Cadman. With this draft very even up the top end and Cadman not viewed by many draft watchers as this year's top prospect, there is reason for concern that the Giants are on the losing end of the 'mega trade'.

The midfield losses of Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper are the two most significant. GWS across the two deals were not equitably compensated. The disappointing component given the calibre of the pair is that the Giants were unable to secure at least one player in addition to the picks received to fill a position of need for the Giants.

The return received for Tanner Bruhn can be viewed as roughly fair value while the Bobby Hill trade is arguably slightly favourable.

The one player the Giants did add to their mix is Toby Bedford who will contend for regular games as a small pressure forward. He is likely to largely replace Hill. The price paid for Bedford was arguably slightly high given he is a speculative list addition but there is the chance he establishes himself if he can apply forward pressure at AFL level to the level as he was in the VFL when playing for Casey.

Hawthorn

In: Karl Amon, Lloyd Meek, Cooper Stephens, picks 41, 48, 50, Western Bulldogs 2023 second round selection and Brisbane's 2023 fourth round selection

Out: Jack Gunston, Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O'Meara, Hawthorn's 2023 fourth round selection

2022 draft picks: 6, 24, 41, 48, 50, 52, 65

Grade: C+

Rationale: On the outside, free agent Karl Amon substantially improves the Hawks as one of the competition's best by position.

The addition of Lloyd Meek over the long term is an important one for the Hawks with the ruckman good enough to become the club's lead ruck and hold down the position in the long term. Meek was the dominant ruckman in the WAFL and ultimately just needs the opportunity to prove himself. Jaeger O'Meara departed as part of the Meek transaction and while the loss of the star midfielder is suboptimal, Hawthorn secured not only the best pick in the deal but also may have secured the more important long-term piece.

The disappointing parts of the trade period for the Hawks were their lopsided exchanges involving Jack Gunston and Tom Mitchell respectively. Gunston continues to play a high level of football, headlined by his 17 goals over his last five games of 2022 while Mitchell remains one of the competition's most prolific ball winners.

The addition of Cooper Stephens who Hawthorn secured as part of the Tom Mitchell salary dump is a speculative midfielder at this stage who will need to keep working to get up to a best 22 standard.

Melbourne

In: Brodie Grundy, Lachie Hunter, Josh Schache, Picks 13, 37 (compensation for loss of Jayden Hunt) and Fremantle's 2023 first and second round selections

Out: Luke Jackson, Sam Weideman, Jayden Hunt, Toby Bedford, Picks 33, 43, 53, 54, 67, 72 and Melbourne's 2023 3rd and fourth round selection

2022 draft picks: 13, 37

Grade: D+

Rationale: The loss of Luke Jackson hurts the Demons structurally and without receiving at least one top-10 pick unless Fremantle finish outside the top 8 in 2023 is a disappointing return.

Brodie Grundy who comes in while undoubtedly a star ruckman, is also an ill-fitting piece and will likely relegate Max Gawn to playing predominantly as a key forward next season. The positive for Melbourne is Grundy only required pick 27 to acquire which is a bargain on paper. Collingwood will pay a portion of his contract which also helps, though with the size and length of his contract, it's a list flexibility killer that will make retaining existing talent and adding rival talent within the constraints of the salary cap in future years more challenging than would otherwise be the case.

Lachie Hunter is a nice addition for Melbourne and will be looking to rebound from his below standard 2022 season. For a future third round pick he represents value and should be a best 22 piece.

The departure of Sam Weideman who was depth is inconsequential for Melbourne with Josh Schache a simple replacement. The return received for Weideman was greater than the cost spent for Schache which is a relative win for the Demons in what is ultimately one depth player replacing another.

The compensation received by the Demons for the loss of Jayden Hunt as a free agent and Toby Bedford via trade while minimal can be considered reasonable as two who weren't essential components to Melbourne's best side.

North Melbourne

In: Griffin Logue, Darcy Tucker, picks 2, 3, 40, 43 and Port Adelaide's 2023 first round selection and Fremantle's 2023 third round selection

Out: Jason Horne-Francis, pick 1, North Melbourne's 2023 second and third round assistance package selections, North Melbourne's third and fourth round selections

2022 draft picks: 2, 3, 40, 43, 59, 70

Grade: C+

Rationale: While the trade of Jason Horne-Francis and pick one hurts North Melbourne from a marketability perspective, ultimately, picks 2 and 3 are not meaningfully worse than pick 1 this year, with a real evenness through the first few choices. There is a suspicion amongst recruiters that North Melbourne's two preferred draft targets may be available at picks 2 and 3. Horne-Francis and pick 1 are the best pieces moving in the mega-trade, but the pick compensation received ultimately is adequate and provides North Melbourne with greater flexibility heading into the draft.

North Melbourne's trades for Griffin Logue and Darcy Tucker can be viewed as fair value with the pair helpful established additions in positions of need who can add to the club's best 22.

Port Adelaide

In: Jason Horne-Francis, Junior Rioli, pick 33, Collingwood's 2023 second round pick and North Melbourne's 2023 third round selection

Out: Karl Amon, picks 8, 57 and Port Adelaide's 2023 first, second and third round selections

2022 draft picks: 33, 60

Grade: A

Rationale: The Power secured arguably the biggest acquisition of the trade period in Jason Horne-Francis. Horne-Francis in 2022 struggled for North Melbourne and was unable to perform to the standard he had in the SANFL in 2021 where he was at the very end of the season and during the finals the competition's most influential player. Many picks were given up by the Power in the trade, but it was ultimately a win with no young talent needing to be conceded as part of the trade.

Junior Rioli was also acquired as part of the Horne-Francis 'mega trade' and should be awarded early opportunity in the hope he can become a regular part of what currently is a front half that is thin on quality.

The loss for the Power was the departure of Karl Amon as a free agent. Amon has been one of Port Adelaide's most important players over recent years and his departure significantly takes away from the Power's immediate competitiveness.

Richmond

In: Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, picks 53 and 63

Out: Picks 12, 19, 31 and Richmond's 2023 first round selection

2022 draft picks: 53, 63

Grade: A+

Rationale: Richmond set out to add midfield grunt through the trade period and were successful in doing that with the additions of Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper from the Giants. The Tigers traded essentially their full draft hand before receiving a couple of late picks back in the Hopper trade. Importantly, Richmond secured the pair without conceding any players as part of the exchange or during the trade period more broadly.

It's a win-now offseason and Richmond couldn't have done any better securing two high end rival talent in positions of pressing need without losing any of their own established players.

St Kilda

In: Zaine Cordy, pick 32

Out: Ben Long, St Kilda's 2023 fourth round selection

2022 draft picks: 9, 28, 32, 47

Grade: C+

Rationale: The free agency signing of Zaine Cordy on a three-year deal is one of the surprising off-season moves. The Saints plan to play Cordy in defence, though the query is around how likely he is to be a best 22 calibre piece and whether there were better opportunities available to add mature age key defenders talent through the draft.

The return of pick 32 for Ben Long and a future fourth is a strong return given his fringe standing from a best 22 perspective.

The disappointing aspect of the trade period for the Saints was the quietness displayed following Jordan De Goey's re-signing with Collingwood. The trade and free agency period has over time proven to be the best opportunity to fill list needs and St Kilda need to get busier with opposition talent identification to not fall behind.

Where the Saints should be credited is for their stance of Hunter Clark as a talented footballer who if not for injuries would likely be regarded as one of the Saints most important. While he has been used in defence throughout his time with the Saints, he possesses substantial untapped scope to develop into a midfielder. With the Saints midfield slow and lacking x-factor, a shift of Clark to the midfield could energise the Saints midfield.

Sydney

In: Aaron Francis, pick 42

Out: Pick 37 and Sydney's 2023 fourth round selection

2022 draft picks: 14, 17, 42, 75

Grade: B

Rationale: Underutilised and struggling for continuity for Essesndon due to positional switches between defence and forward, Aaron Francis for Sydney if he gets the opportunity to settle in defence and is allowed the freedom to go for more intercept marks may yet be able to establish himself as a best 22 player on a new list. For a small move back down the draft order, the addition of Francis can be considered worth it.

West Coast

In: Jayden Hunt and picks 8, 12, Port Adelaide's 2023 second and third round selections

Out: Junior Rioli and picks 2 and 40

2022 draft picks: 8, 12, 20, 26

Grade: B+

Rationale: The key move made by the Eagles was their decision to trade picks 2, 40, and Junior Rioli to secure picks 8 and 12. The return of picks 8 and 12 is arguably favourable to pick 1 this year. There are several Western Australian talents likely to feature in the 8-12 range which no doubt comes into the thinking of the Eagles. More importantly, the evenness through the first roughly eight prospects in this draft and the scope to secure a slider at 12 is arguably the percentage play this year. The bonus through the deal is the 2023 picks which are seen as slightly favourable to 2022 picks of a similar draft range due to the greater depth expected to be available in next year's draft.

The addition of Jayden Hunt as a free agent adds speed and competitiveness which will help the aging Eagles.

The relative opportunity missed by West Coast was their decision not to offer pick 2 for Luke Jackson. Jackson loomed as an obvious Nic Naitanui successor and arguably would have been an even better use of the pick.

Western Bulldogs

In: Liam Jones, Rory Lobb, pick 21, Brisbane's 2023 first and second round selections, Melbourne's 2023 fourth round selections and Geelong's 2023 fourth round selection

Out: Josh Dunkley, Lachie Hunter, Josh Schache, Zaine Cordy, pick 30 and Western Bulldogs' 2023 second and third round selections

2022 draft picks: 11, 21, 39, 69

Grade: C+

Rationale: With the Western Bulldogs key defence stocks shaky, the addition of Liam Jones as a low-cost free agent is a perfect fit for the Dogs and will add immediate stability as one of the best one-on-one defenders and intercept marks in the competition when he last played in 2021.

Rory Lobb will be a handy addition to the front half and as a relieving ruckman he will enable Sam Darcy the opportunity to focus on developing his key position craft and protect his body from ruck duties for a few years.

The loss of Best and Fairest winner Josh Dunkley is the big midfield loss, particularly with the best pick received in the exchange being Brisbane's 2023 first round selection.

Lachie Hunter is a second suboptimal departure with a future third round selection not a great return given his career accomplishments and standing as a best 22 player when healthy.

The losses of Josh Schache to Melbourne through the trade period and Zaine Cordy as a free agent are of no consequence to the Dogs as players following the additions of Jones and Lobb, as the now former Dogs would most likely would have been relegated to depth.