With just a handful of games remaining this season, it is unclear whether Sunderland will be playing Championship or League One football next season.
But Jack Ross will still be weighing up whether to offer new deals to seven out-of-contract players. Here are the players who will soon become free agents.
Keep four players
Captain George Honeyman should be rewarded with a new contract but Sunderland might need to win promotion to secure his services. The 24-year-old has scored five goals this season and if he irons the inconsistency out of his game, he could become a top player.
There are three young players who Ross should hand new deals to as well. Elliot Embleton, who is currently on loan at Grimsby Town, is an exciting young midfielder who plays for England at youth level and could play a major role next season.
Denver Hume has shown promise at left-back. The 20-year-old will get better with more game time. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Max Stryjek has impressed on loan at Eastleigh and can become Jon McLaughlin’s back-up next season.
Release Robbin Ruiter
If Stryjek is promoted to McLaughlin’s back-up, then there is no place in the squad for Robbin Ruiter. The 32-year-old has been a flop since his summer 2017 move to the Stadium of Light.
Decisions TBC on pair
Keeping Adam Matthews could rely on winning promotion. And offering a new deal to Reece James will depend on several factors, including the future of Bryan Oviedo and Hume.