Because he is not eligible for Free Agency!
We have free agency in place because players sooked and wanted it. Now they basically want free agency as soon as they finish a contract (now not even then - Boyd, McCarthy, Gibbs, Ablett). Clubs are wasting top picks and getting half the value back in return. Lever was a top 10 talent and already they are getting screwed by getting lower picks in a weaker draft.
As soon as a player nominates one club only the bargaining power is lost for their current club just like Polec when he demanded to go to Port (all brisbane got back was a pick in the 20s for a top 5 pick). Happened to us with Ryder and Crameri.
You are saying yes he honoured his contract… whoopy freaking dooo. But its not the real world. In the sport industry the AFL/NBA/FIFA are all the main organisation. You sign up to play for this brand. The clubs are all sub branches that live under this umbrella. Just like entering the draft, you sign up not knowing where you are gonna end up.
Now it’s all fair and well to say a player should be able to go to whoever pays them the most money, BUT why cant a club canvass the offers on him and take whats best for them (keep in mind that the player is playing for the AFL). The club is the one who drafted, invested time and money in getting him to where he is in diet, training, rehab etc.
No club wants to end up like the Lions and GCS where they are a revolving door. Just like in any real world organisation, no club would be happy to let go of someone who is valuable to go to a cross town rival. Just in the real world you have 100s of people who can replace you. In the AFL there is less.
If it works for the nba, NFL and MLB and players dont mind being traded against their wishes, why cant it work here? The company comes first because the players are happy to be playing in the organisation.