RICHMOND has offered gun midfielder and free agent Dustin Martin a significant long-term contract, believed to be worth close to $800,000 a season.
The contract offer has the Tigers well placed to retain the explosive Martin, who is understood to have been offered a deal of at least four years.
As a restricted free agent, Martin can field offers from other clubs this year, but the Tigers have acted swiftly to prevent any auction - and the distraction of a prolonged impasse - by making a strong offer for the highly talented Martin, who, at 25, is entering his prime years.
Outside of Fremantle champion and skipper Nat Fyfe, Martin is the highest-profile free agent in the AFL in 2017.
Martin is the only elite player at Richmond who is coming out of contract this year. The Tigers have key forward Jack Riewoldt signed until the end of 2019 and their premier defender Alex Rance signed a four-year deal in 2015 that also has him secured until the end of 2019.
The Tigers have been impressed with the development of Martin, whom the club has carefully nurtured and protected, in the knowledge that he has had off-field concerns - to the point that he has been considered for a spot in the leadership group.
Lately, Martin has been dealing with the issue of his father Shane's deportation to New Zealand, with Dustin making a plea to allow his father to return to Australia during a television interview on Channel Nine last week.
Martin finished third in the Brownlow Medal last season and has become a far more valued player than he was when he came out of contract in 2013 - he found it difficult to find another club willing to take him on at the asking price - before he re-signed with the Tigers.
Trent Cotchin is set to retain the captaincy at Tigerland, while Riewoldt is likely to be brought back into the club's leadership group when the club completes the process of electing its on-field leaders.
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