The Canberra Raiders would really like to lock up Jack Wighton for the next few years. After putting all the work into his development as a footballer as well as a human, they’re desperate to reap the rewards they foresee in his coming prime.
They’ve made their pitch. Nine-hundred-thousand dollars a year, out to the end of 2023. With representative payments, and perhaps a low-key third-party agreement, this could push his annual earnings into the million-dollar stratosphere.
A Daily Telegraph article last week emphasised that this would make him the highest paid Raider – which is hard to verify because we frankly have no idea how much anyone is actually paid.
I think this characterisation is a deliberate part of the Raiders negotiating tactics. They don’t have much room to move cap wise, and they’ve still got to find money for Nic Cotric and John Bateman this summer. Emphasising Wighton’s place in Raider-lore is materially meaningless but could be a small thing the Milk can say to get him over the line.
It’s also a signal to Wighton and his agent that Canberra can’t go much further. I don’t think they’d baulk at finding an extra 25-50 thousand if things got desperate, but if he’s looking for that Jarryd Hayne money I don’t think the Raiders could afford it.
It’s a fair price for Jack, and reflects his potential as an elite half in this game, rather than his excellent, but still developing performance from 2019 (we’ll have more on this tomorrow). It also reflects his abilities across three positions, something that opens up the number of suitors for his services, driving up his price beyond single-position players.
Of course this could be an agent trying to make noise about the price he’s extracted from the Raiders in an attempt to garner up a bit of advertising for his work, and hopefully more clients. It’s not a stretch to think Wighton’s agent Matt Rose, is trying to pump up his tires as Jack’s new agent, to show Jack the process of “striking while the iron is hot” was worth it. The hard bit in all that for me is why then hasn’t the agreement been announced? My only thought is that they wanted to wait until after Christmas when everyone comes back from break for a formal announcement – no use wasting an this story (from either the agent, or the club’s perspective) when no one is paying attention.
If this is the Raiders putting down there best offer, the radio silence that has followed that article is creating more tension than a Hitchcock film. No doubt Wighton’s agent is doing his due diligence about what is available to his client. Let’s hope it’s resolved soon.