Simply put, a trade wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t agreed to help Port foot the bill for the contracted 153-game veteran.
The initial decision to trade Watts divided opinion among Demons supporters, but discontent grew when they shipped the No.1 pick at the 2008 draft off for just pick 31 in return.
That consternation turned to outright dismay for some – including club great David Schwarz – when it was revealed Melbourne would actually still be paying him over the next two years.
“It’s not a lot – I think over the final two years of his contract it’s about 15 per cent,” Jackson told SEN Radio.
“So it’s not as if we’re paying half of his salary to move him on… that’s not happening.”
You can’t actually say he’s a first-round draft pick anymore
As for the reasoning behind the move, Jackson said that while Watts was well-liked, he simply wasn’t ruthless enough on the field.
He said Melbourne fans left scratching their heads at the deal needed to understand the modern landscape of player movement.
Once the Demons had made the decision to move the under-performing forward on they had to bend to market forces.
“There was one club making one offer at the end of the day and that says something,” he said.
“When you talk about market value there’s two things you need to look at.
“(Firstly) the stats, the performance over nine years, where he finished in best-and-fairests – you can’t actually say he’s a first-round draft pick anymore… it just doesn’t measure up.
“The second thing that creates the value is what are people prepared to offer you. The only football club that actually spoke to us about a deal in any real terms was Port Adelaide.
“Geelong made an enquiry but they didn’t take it any further and the offer they were mooting… we would have been crucified by Melbourne supporters if we had accepted it.”
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