Key forward Jesse Hogan asked Fremantle for an eight-year, $8 million deal before the Dockers baulked at Melbourne’s trade demands.
According to Fox Footy reporter Tom Morris, Fremantle are concerned by the length of Hogan’s desired contract rather than his salary.
The Dockers declared they were unable to match Melbourne’s asking rate of two first-round draft picks last Friday, and cited ‘due diligence’ as one of the reasons for their stunning backflip.
While Peter Bell formally stated Fremantle had ceased negotiations, it is widely believed the club remains interested in recruiting Hogan at the right price.
Given Hogan’s current wage of around $900,000 a season, money isn’t considered a hurdle for the Dockers, who have salary cap space to burn and are crying out for a key forward to replace the departed Matthew Pavlich.
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Melbourne was reportedly after Fremantle’s pick six before the Dockers offloaded it to Port Adelaide in a shrewd pick swap.
Fremantle then tabled pick 11 and a future second-round selection, which the Demons promptly rebuffed.
Pick 11 has since been put forward in negotiations over wantaway GWS forward-ruck Rory Lobb who, unlike Hogan, has requested a move to Fremantle.
The Dockers are still expected to acquire pick five in a trade with Brisbane for Lachie Neale, but want another selection inside the top 20 before handing over the contracted two-time Doig Medallist.
Pick five would reportedly be enough to re-open talks with Melbourne, though it remains unclear whether Fremantle is willing to do so.
The AFL trade period closes on Wednesday at 5.30pm, WST.