Collingwood’s staggering $5m trade warchest has big issue

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Despite their status as reigning premiers, Collingwood are ready to rumble in the coming off-seasons with an eye-watering amount set to open up in the salary cap.

With the expected retirements of several premiership stars before 2026, Craig McRae’s salary cap will subsequently free up in what will be a massive boost financially to help replace their long-held talent.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s Midweek Tackle, Herald Sun journalist Glenn McFarlane took a deep dive into the current list structure at the Magpies, and their plan of attack with the impending departure of their veterans.

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“It’s really exciting from a Collingwood perspective; they’ve got a $5 million salary cap saving to come over the next 18 months,” McFarlane said.

“They’ve got nine players over the age of 30, and they’re expecting probably half of that group will be retired within the next 18 months to two years.

“That leaves at least $4.5 – maybe even a bit more – $5 million to come in to be able to spend.”

While the salary cap space to be freed up would allow Collingwood to become one of the most active clubs on the market, the Pies won’t be pushing their long-time servants out the door.

Currently on their list, there are four players who are 33 years or older – Steele Sidebottom, Jeremy Howe and Mason Cox are of the aforementioned age, while a timeless Scott Pendlebury leads the pack of veterans at 36 years of age.

Pendlebury, Sidebottom and Cox are all one-club players, with the former two having won premierships in both 2010 and 2023.

Howe begun his career at Melbourne before joining the Pies, and has played 137 games in the black and white since 2016.

“They’re not going to retire these guys ‘willy nilly’, they’re not going to try and throw these guys out – they’re legends of the game,” added McFarlane on the star veterans.

Beyond their current list and delving into their future plans, the journalist tips Collingwood to say no to trading off draft picks where possible, and narrowing in on already developed players from rival clubs.

“It won’t be trading; it’ll be free agency – the Pies actually think they’ve given too much away in the past around their first-round picks. They’ve given up six first-round picks in the last decade,” McFarlane revealed.

“What they are going to do, is they’re going to save a lot of money and they’re going to really attack the free agency period.

“You’re looking at Oscar Allen coming out at the end of next year, Harrison Petty, Sam Taylor – the one who interests me is Luke Davies-Uniacke.”

Midweek Tackle host Jay Clark believes that Collingwood should at least be open to trading picks in the near future, given some of the talent who may be open to moving clubs.

“We know Nick Daicos is spending a lot of time with Bailey Smith … he would be one I give up a first-round draft pick for,” Clark said.

Originally published as Big issue with Collingwood’s staggering $5m trade warchest