GWS is staring down the barrel of an $8 million problem if Josh Kelly decides to extend his stay at the Sydney club.
That’s the view of former Hawthorn and Melbourne defender Jordan Lewis, who says the silky midfielder’s big-money deal could prevent the Giants from contending for a premiership while he’s still around.
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One of the most sought-after players in the league in 2019, Kelly re-signed with GWS on a monster contract that locked him in until at least the end of 2021, but which also featured triggers he could activate to stay on even longer, for up to eight more seasons.
SEN’s Sam Edmund said on radio on Thursday the Giants face paying Kelly $8 million over the journey if he re-commits.
The left-footer had a below-par season in 2020 as GWS missed the finals, and is still working towards recapturing the sort of form that made him such a hot property a couple of years ago.
Lewis, who won four flags with Hawthorn, says pouring so much of your salary cap into one player is a recipe for disaster and hurts the balance of a team — especially if that one player isn’t regularly making game-winning contributions.
Kelly has a big decision to make.Source:Getty Images
“If he stays and he signs for that money, GWS cannot be a threat,” Lewis told SEN Breakfast.
“They just can’t. We see it too many times when you pay one player far and above what they can afford to do in terms of spreading the money elsewhere.
“He’s certainly not as valuable at other sides. I think his form has significantly dropped off.
“If he was to stay I think they would have to renegotiate that contract to try and get him to take less money, which is impossible.”
Kelly turned down an even more lucrative offer from North Melbourne in 2019 to remain with the Giants. He has the option of choosing not to trigger his contract extension with GWS and test the open market, but few believe he would attract the same money, given his form has dipped in recent times.
Walking away from the guarantee of millions of dollars would be a brave move from the 26-year-old. However, last month a report in The Age said several Victorian clubs believe Kelly is “gettable” for next season, with the Kangaroos at the front of the queue because of their salary cap space.
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