The GWS Giants are reportedly staring down the barrel of a “player exodus” with four players expected to leave the club in the upcoming trade period due to salary cap issues.

As revealed by The Age’s Sam McClure this week, Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Bobby Hill and Tanner Bruhn have been floated as candidates to leave the struggling club, who are currently reeling at 15th on the AFL ladder with five wins from 17 games.

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According to McClure, high-profile Giants stars Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield collectively take up about $4 million of the club’s $13.5 million salary cap.

“There’s another player exodus. We’ve been here before with the Giants,” he told 3AW’s Sportsday.

“I’ve already talked about Tim Taranto, I think that he won’t be there next year. Jacob Hopper you can now put in that same situation, I believe will leave GWS this trade period with one year left on his deal. And Bobby Hill and Tanner Bruhn I think will both join them out the exit door.

“This is once again salary cap based. We talk a lot about the Giants and the fact they pay their four highest-paid players the best part of $4 million per season – Coniglio, Kelly, Greene and Whitfield. Who are all stars.

“And Nick Haynes … he’s coming to the last two years of a heavily back-ended contract.

“When you add him in, and Taranto and Hopper – if they were all playing in the same side next year, they’d be taking up $6.5 million of the Giants’ $13 million salary cap. That’s half.

“That’s not as much of an issue if you’re top four, if you’re playing in prelims, you’re contending for flags. But in what Matthew Lloyd believes to be a bottom four side at the moment, it of course is going to be an issue.”

Meanwhile, Essendon are reportedly in the running to poach versatile Melbourne star Angus Brayshaw ahead of his free agency.

According to The Age, the Bombers have “well over” $2 million available in their salary cap, and the cashed-up club has its eye on one of the league’s top free agents.

Brayshaw, who reportedly spoke with Essendon coach Ben Rutten and footy boss Josh Mahoney this week, has spent the majority of the last couple of seasons in defence or on the wing for the Demons, with stalwarts Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney occupying the midfield.

But Essendon are expected to lure Brayshaw to the club by offering him a role in the midfield.

The 26-year-old, who has averaged 24 disposals and eight marks this season, has played 134 games for Melbourne since making his AFL debut in 2015.

Fremantle, where younger brother Andrew plays, is also reportedly interested in signing Brayshaw.

The Bombers have also inquired about Demons small forward Toby Bedford, Seven News reports.

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