Lever, who was traded to Melbourne from the Crows at the end of the 2017 season, has been sidelined for much of his time at the Demons due to injury.
Ricciuto said McGovern, who was traded to the Blues during the 2018 trade period, had the attributes that appealed to Adelaide, but he was not worth the money he was being paid by Carlton.
“He’s got what we want, we love people that contest in the forward line and [have] got plenty of speed – we need speed in the forward line – but, once again, [at] 800-and-something thousand [dollars]?
“Has he delivered for Carlton yet? No. [We’re] comfortable that he went.”
He said other players would have been squeezed out if the club paid to keep Keath, who moved to the Bulldogs at the end of last year.
“Alex Keath got offered a massive amount of money to go to Western Bulldogs. Like a large amount of money, more than double what he was on at Adelaide. That’s what he wanted. If we had have kept him, we would’ve lost more players,” Ricciuto said.
Ricciuto said Patrick Dangerfield was going to leave to return home to Moggs Creek whatever the club offered him, but Charlie Cameron had been “the one we didn’t want to lose”.
Cameron had a year to go on his contract when he was traded to Brisbane on a heavily front-ended contract in 2017. The club turned the draft picks received in the Cameron trade into forward Darcy Fogarty.
“Charlie Cameron was one we didn’t want to lose. One of few we weren’t happy to let go,” Ricciuto said.
“He got a very, very good contract from Brisbane who were down the bottom of the ladder and had money in their salary cap. [We] couldn’t match that.
“When you’re at the top of the ladder and your salary cap is chock-a-block, you haven’t got much room to move, do you? If you pay someone overs or a massive amount of money, then it means you need to lose someone else.”
He said the trades of Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins and Hugh Greenwood awway from the club were more about age profile than money, but Greenwood’s lack of pace was also a significant factor.
“Everyone says we’ve got the slowest midfield in the competition; you can’t just keep having those players in your midfield then whinge you’ve got a slow midfield. He’s 28 this year and not going to play in our next premiership side, so we’re trying to get draft picks in to rebuild.”
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.