Committed and happy partners for the past six years, Chris Judd and Carlton have reached a turning point in their relationship. Contractually speaking at least.
From now on, both parties will reassess where they stand annually. Another profound change is that Judd, having previously enjoyed the status of being the AFL’s highest-paid footballer, has agreed to take a significant wage cut in 2014 – close to halving his annual earnings for playing, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the new contract.
Judd had already told the club – and on Thursday told the public – he would make his decision on whether to play beyond 2014 based on his physical and mental freshness and how his abilities would serve his team.
The result, as it stands, is that the 29-year-old champion preparing for his 246th game has agreed to the first 12-month contract of his 12-year AFL career.
Asked to forecast if he would play beyond that, the only thing Judd would pledge is that he would never again change colours after leaving West Coast at the end of 2007 to sign a $6 million, six-year playing deal with the Blues.
”I’ve changed clubs once before and it’s a pretty full-on thing to go through and certainly not something I’ll do again,” he said.
Judd described the one-season-at-a-time approach with his contract as mutually beneficial. Carlton would have done the deal earlier, but Judd wanted to test his body out in the opening rounds.
Reassured by how he has felt in the first six weeks, the contract proved an uncomplicated exercise that Judd hopes will afford Carlton freedom in its salary cap.
”You certainly can’t take your football for granted when you get to 30 and over,” Judd, a premiership player for West Coast in 2006, said on Carlton’s website. ”And it is, I guess, safer from the club’s perspective just to do things one year at a time. Both parties are happy with how it’s worked out.
”Obviously, there’s plenty of work still to go this year, but I’m really excited with the direction the club is heading.”