North Melbourne will move on to plan B and plan C after missing out on Dustin Martin, according to general manager of football Cameron Joyce.
Martin confirmed on Thursday he will stay at Richmond for the next seven years.
In doing so, he backed away from a massive North Melbourne offer, reported to be around $10.5 million across seven years, a deal that would have been the highest contract in AFL history.
Joyce said the decision was very close.
"We went right down to the wire on this one," he told News Corp.
"We are talking about a potential Brownlow medallist, a multiple All-Australian, best-and-fairest winner and a superstar of the competition who was seriously considering coming to North Melbourne.
"That is the huge positive in this - he saw something in our club versus others that drew him to come to a decision very, very late in the year which has ultimately seen him stay at Richmond.
"We totally respect that, and wish him all the best as he is a terrific guy."
Joyce said the club was still in a good, strategic position to improve their list.
"[The members] should know that we are leaving no stone unturned to aggressively improve our list," he said.
"We want to add elite talent...and we will look at Plan B and C, if we need to get to that."