Brad Crouch has nominated St Kilda as his preferred destination with a reported five-year contract in the offing for the Adelaide free agent.
But should the Saints keep their powder dry and pounce on an off-contract star in 2021?
Kane Cornes has thrown up seven big names who are coming out of contract next year that St Kilda could target instead of tabling a long-term deal for Crouch.
“There are some stars coming out of contract at the end of next year – and we’re talking the best midfielders in the game,” Cornes told AFL Trade Radio’s The Early Trade.
“I’m going to rank the players coming out of contract that the Saints would have been better served at having a real crack at in 12 months’ time as opposed to rushing into Brad Crouch.”
Below are the seven players Cornes has thrown up as options for the Saints:
7. Cam Rayner (Brisbane)
"Cam Rayner is out of contract at Brisbane. Now at some point the Brisbane Lions’ salary squeeze is going to happen.
"Is Cam Rayner a midfielder? No he’s not. But can he be a Christian Petracca-type? I think he absolutely can.
"And his age would be better for the Saints."
6. Zach Merrett (Essendon)
"I think he’s a better fit for the Saints with his ability to use the ball, for the model citizen that he is, the example that he sets."
5. Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane)
"He’s a goalkicking wingman but now plays inside and he’s going to be a very good player for a long time. I would have had a crack at him."
4. Tim Taranto (GWS)
"They’ve already been linked to him.
"He would be a much better option for the Saints."
3. Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
"Clayton Oliver is a great fit for St Kilda if they offered him a massive deal to leave Melbourne if things don’t go well for him."
2. Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
"It’s unlikely you are going to get Patrick Cripps but he’s out of contract at the end of 2021. Who knows?"
1. Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
"You’re probably not going to get Marcus Bontempelli either but he’s out of contract at the end of 2021 and would be worthwhile having a crack at also."
"I think the Saints would have been better served waiting 12 months’ time and being patient rather than rushing into a five-year deal for Brad Crouch."