Fremantle will battle to continue their free agency recruiting strategy at season's end, with several high-profile re-signings short changing any plans to bolster their list for a sustained premiership assault.
The Dockers have already had to dig into their salary cap over the past month to pay for new three-year contracts for key mid- fielders Nat Fyfe and David Mundy.
Two of the club's highest-paid players, Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands, have also both committed to one-year deals for 2015.
It is understood the financial cost associated with those four stars, on top of locking away the rest of Fremantle's list, will leave the Dockers with no more than $400,000 of room in their cap heading into next season.
That figure takes into account the increasingly likely retirement of 2012 All-Australian Luke McPharlin.
Leadership group member Matt de Boer is among the few remaining Dockers coming out of contract and is believed to have been asked to take a pay cut to breathe extra space into a tight salary cap.
Fremantle have already re-signed defenders Lee Spurr and Alex Silvagni.
And last week the club finalised a deal with emerging tall Jack Hannath, until the end of 2016.
McPharlin's loss would still leave Fremantle in the market for a key defender ideally suited to play on the game's most dangerous tall forwards, particularly Sydney spearhead Lance Franklin.
Melbourne defender James Frawley is out of contract and an unrestricted free agent, with Fremantle believed to have spoken to the 25-year-old's management about the possibility of a move west.
However, the Dockers appear short of the necessary bargaining power to secure the Demon's signature.
Reports that Frawley would need to be offered $800,000 a season to switch clubs appear exaggerated, but the defender could still reasonably command up to $650,000 a year.
Hawthorn and Geelong are two of Fremantle's premiership rivals also in the market for another key defender.
Fremantle will have $10.07 million in total player payments for their entire squad next season.
New contracts for Fyfe and Mundy believed to be worth $2.5 million and $1.8 million respectively over the next three years are a significant drain on overall payments.
The Dockers have favoured luring players from rival clubs through either free agency or via the draft while steadily building into a force.
Zac Dawson (St Kilda) and Danyle Pearce (Port Adelaide) have become regulars since joining the club.
Fremantle chased Colin Sylvia (Melbourne) and Scott Gumbleton (Essendon) before signing both after last year's grand final defeat to strengthen identified deficiencies.
Jack Anthony has been the one major recruiting bust under the strategy, managing just eight matches after moving to Fremantle from Collingwood before being sacked at the end of 2012.
- FREO'S FREE AGENTS: * Colin Sylvia, Scott Gumbleton, Danyle Pearce, Zac Dawson, Jack Anthony.