Sourcing contract information from Sale Sharks is notoriously difficult. Short press releases and vague BBC articles are often the only glimpse fans have into the inner workings of Sale's distribution of money and term amongst their playing squad. With discussions regarding the feasibility of retaining both Tommy Taylor and Will Addison - a duo who both have contracts set to expire at the end of the 2015-16 season - currently circulating, I thought now was as good as time as any to try and decipher which members of the current Sharks squad could possibly leave the club at the end of the season and rank for whom priority should be placed in getting a contract extension inked.
Retention Is A Must
Potential England internationals do not grow on trees and Sale need to do all they can to retain the ones they produce through their academy. Taylor is a unique talent and probably the best 'hooking' hooker in the league; he has to be the Sharks' no.1 priority in getting re-signed this season.
The best all-round winger at the club and yet another potentially elite talent produced of the club's own volition. Sale have been patient with Addison having seen the winger struggle with a number of career-threatening injuries since bursting into the first team in 2012. It'd be nice to see that loyalty repaid, at least for another couple of years.
The addition of Brian Mujati over the summer fixed Sale's incessant reliance of Cobilas as the team's premier - and only - tighthead prop. Losing Cobilas this summer would cause that exact same problem to re-emerge, with Ciaran Parker still a year or so away from being ready for consistent Premiership action.
Former England U20 representative Jennings has immense potential as an inside centre that is still yet to be fully realised. An incredibly talented ball-carrier, Jennings is the future of Sale's no.12 shirt. Sam Tuitupou and Johnny Leota will not last forever.
With Dan Braid retiring at the end of this season, David Seymour's vast experience and breakdown nous will become even more important for Sale next season. Still a highly effective - and underrated- operator Seymour is a pivotal figure at the club as one of Sale's longest-tenured players.
James Mitchell is not ready for full-time Premiership duty and Peter Stringer is rapidly nearing the conclusion of his playing days. There are holes in Cusiter's game and I have my doubts he's the best fit for Sale's current playing style, but unless another experienced and international scrum-half becomes available, Sale should look to keep Cusiter around.
On current form Leota is the superior centre between himself and Sam Tuitupou, but with Hacksaw Sam signed for another season beyond this one and Leota turning 32 in a month's time, Sale have a big decision to make; is it time to hand the reigns over to Mark Jennings and Sam James as the future of the Sharks' midfield?
Brady has found his appearances limited so far this season but did impress against Pau last month. The 24-year-old is a useful squad player who can suit up for Premiership action in a pinch, no reason to let him go if the option to re-sign him is available.
The jury is still out on Nev Edwards and a more concrete decision should be made once Edwards' progression to professional fifteens can be better evaluated next year. But so far Edwards has flashed a skill set unique within the Sale squad and could certainly be worth retaining beyond this season.
Arguably Sale's form scrum-half this season, if possible Stringer should definitely be extended. But having turned 38 earlier this month, the Irish centenarian could very well be in line to retire come season's end. We shall see.
Time To Move On
A loyal and experienced member of the squad, Macleod unfortunately does not offer either the cutting edge in set play or the metronomic kicking to be considered a viable backup for a team challenging for the top-six.
A good 'defensive' flanker, Easter is unfortunate in that Sale have a trio of better all-round players in the same position (Ioane, Lund, Seymour) and his skill set does not function well as a Premiership Number 8, despite Steve Diamond's insistence on playing him there.
See: Nick Macleod. Signed an undisclosed deal when he joined Sale from Yorkshire Carnegie in summer 2013 which I believe was for three years although no confirmation was never made.
Signed part-way through the 2013-14 season on a three-year-deal, although having joined in November, I am not sure whether that means Fihaki can leave at the end of this season or if he's contracted until November 2016. Probably the former. Anyway discarded from first-team action in perpetuity unfortunately I would be more shocked if Fihaki is brought back to the club than if he leaves, despite his obvious talent.
Definitely on the periphery of Sale's first-team squad, so much so that there is no contract information available for him anywhere.
Signed a three-year-deal in 2013 but hasn't played in over a year for Sale (possibly because of injury)? If he's still at the club, I can't imagine him being offered an extension.
Lewis Hughes dreams of the day somebody creates a website purely dedicated to rugby contracts and salaries. Follow @SharkTankRugby on Twitter for more news, analysis, and opinions.