As the AFL prepares to embark on another player movement period, we look at all you need to know. 

Key dates

October 30-November 6: AFL Free Agency Period

November 4-12: AFL Trade Period

November 20: List Lodgement No.1

November 27: List Lodgement No.2

November 30: AFL Draft Nominations close

w/c December 7: NAB AFL Draft and Rookie Draft (exact date to be confirmed in due course)

Mid-December: Final List Lodgment & TPP estimates

How free agency works

Players who are in the top 25 per cent of salaries at their club (that is, in the club’s top 10 paid players) are eligible for restricted free agency the first time they are out of contract, if they have served at least eight years with the club.

A top 25 per cent player is eligible for unrestricted free agency when next out of contract, provided a player can never be an unrestricted free agent until completing at least 10 years’ service at one club.

Restricted free agents have the right to move to a club of their choice, subject to the current club’s right of first refusal over their services. That is, if the current club can ‘match’ the offer from a suitor club, the player must stay or enter the draft. The tabled offer includes only football payments and Additional Service Agreements (ASA) amounts. 

Matching offer for free agent

A contract offer is matched if the football payments and ASAs are equivalent under the offer and the contract proposed by the player’s current club. To qualify as a matching offer, the player’s current club must make an offer on the same terms as the new offer tabled by the player including:

- Contract length;
- Base payments;
- Total match payments;
- Total ASA payments;

Total performance incentives based on AFL awards or honours, club best and fairest finish or games played (not including finals). Any incentives for team performance do not have to be matched. A player cannot table an offer to be matched for less than a two-year contract length. 


A club that has a net loss of players transferring to/from other clubs as free agents in one transfer period is entitled to compensation via National Draft picks allocated by the AFL.

The compensation formula produces a points rating for players based on:

1. The new contract of the free agent;
2. The age of the free agent.

Draft picks are allocated to clubs based on the net total points for free agents lost and gained during the transfer period.

Draft picks will be allocated to one of five places:

- 1st round
- end of 1st round
-  2nd round
-  end of 2nd round
-  3rd round

In applying the formula, an expert committee reviews the formula outcomes. The committee has the power to recommend alternative outcomes to GM – Football Operations where the formula produces a materially anomalous result.

What picks do the Swans currently have in the National Draft?

Currently the Sydney Swans hold picks 3, 22, 54, 56 and 76 heading into the National Draft in the week commencing December 7.

When does the trade period begin?

The 2020 AFL Trade Period will begin on Wednesday November 4. Players who are in contract or players that are un-contracted but have not been at the club for either years needs to be exchanged by virtue of a trade. The Clubs come to an agreement of players/picks to allow this to happen.